What if Life Chooses you?

  I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. — Forrest Gump What if we have it all wrong? What if instead of living our lives through our…

The Elephant Seals of Año Nuevo

The year was 1987 and I was searching for a place where black abalone were largely undisturbed so I could complete my dissertation. The island was the perfect location: isolated, difficult to access, federally protected, and surrounded by seal- and shark- infested waters. During my first low tide on the island I was ecstatic: blacks were common and it was the perfect place to conduct a study but there were elephant seals everywhere.

First Contact: the Mote in God’s Eye and Lessons for the Future of Humanity

  First contact between humanity and a sentient alien race is depicted as either a hallmark moment with enormous benefits for the planet (e.g., Contact, Star Trek) or the beginning of a hostile take-over and the end of humanity (e.g., War of the Worlds, Independence Day). Under either scenario the aliens are seen as more advanced, with superior technology,…

Cortes Bank: the Largest Wave on the Planet

…Dawn’s early light revealed a shimmering plume of spray. A Himalayan peak rose to life far off the bow. It was shaped like a great, volcanic cone– 43 million pounds of water, terrible and unrideable. Its foam exploding an unknowable number of feet into the air and churned the surrounding water into a 360-degree maelstrom…

How to Become a Marine Biologist: Being Successful in Graduate School 

  So you made it! You’ve been accepted into a graduate program and are starting your career as a graduate student. Congratulations! You are among a small group of individuals that have the privilege of working beyond your baccalaureate degree. Now what? As I have discussed previously grad school is very different from your undergraduate…

Shore Whaling at Trinidad, California in the 1920s

Standing there today you can imagine it. Just walk outside the Seascape Restaurant near Trinidad Pier and you are on hallowed ground. Ground consecrated by the blood and guts of thousands of magnificent whales and a few brave whalemen. Here, for six years in the 1920s, whales were brought ashore and butchered by men for their oil, their baleen, for their very bones. And lest we judge these men for their actions, back then it was no different then catching fish. Of bringing a commodity to market; a way of making a living; albeit a hard one with many risks.