Tag: Ecology

Chasing the Wild Abalone: Confessions of a Field Biologist

To be honest, I love abalone and have always been fascinated by this most unusual of snails. In college I truly began to “chase the abalone” which led me to become a field biologist. So these are my confessions; some of my adventures while chasing abalone. Things I normally wouldn’t admit to but looking back were just part of the lore of being a field biologist.

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.

Ocean Conservation for Surfers: Why Care about Healthy Oceans?

I recently attended a conference sponsored by the European Association of Surfing Doctors; a group of surfers that are also medical doctors and health practitioners. Held near Biarritz in the beautiful Basque region of southern France I was tasked with telling the group why they should care about a healthy ocean and what they can do about it.…

The Last Song of Mother Earth

The planet is teeming with life, all literally bursting with sound. On land we hear these sounds every day and most people are familiar with the noises of the forest: the hooting, chirping, moaning, howling, tweeting, clucking, whistling, squawking and hooting that creates a complex sonic melody. The sound of nature is everywhere but we don’t always take the time to listen.

Paleozoic Puzzle: the Origins of Abalone

Abalone Around the world they are  called abulón, awabi, bàoyú, ormer, ormeau, pāua, perlemoen, pauhi, and haliote, but all are abalone. Abalones (family Haliotidae) are all in the genus Haliotis (“ear shells”) a worldwide group of snails known for their beautiful iridescent shells and incredibly tasty meat. In many places of the world abalone are (or…

How to Become a Marine Biologist

When I tell people I am a marine biologist a common response is “I wanted to do that when I was younger!” Among possible careers it is both high on the list of desirability but low on success rate. Why is that? In my experience many people love the ocean, and hence the marine part, but…