Marine Biodiversity Lab

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


November 13, 2018 | A facilitation cascade: tubeworms allow kelps to live where they shouldn’t

Hakai magazine recently profiled Matt’s work describing how northern feather duster worms, which build strong tubes from sediment and slime, provide habitat for kelp to attachment. Kelp, large brown algae which provide important food and habitat for many marine organisms, typically need to grow on rocky bottoms. However, Matt found them growing on a mudflat, … [ Read More ]

May 9, 2018 | Setting up our tide pool herbivore experiment

We have transitioned from monitoring tide pools to setting up our experiments to evaluate the top-down vs. bottom-up roles of herbivores as mediators of primary productivity. We set up herbivore-exclusion fences at our Southern California sites this week and will head north to Central and Northern California later this month. Well done, team!  

August 31, 2017 | New Grant: Context-dependency of top-down vs. bottom-up effects of herbivores on marine primary producers

Humans are modifying marine food webs both from the top-down, by reducing consumer abundances, and from the bottom-up, by adding nutrients to coastal habitats. Predicting these impacts is complicated because herbivores affect primary producers both from the top-down, by eating them, and from the bottom-up, by recycling nutrients and facilitating the recruitment of algae into local … [ Read More ]

July 12, 2017 | New Publications

We’ve been busy in the Bracken Lab, with six new papers out this year. They include a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of warming experiments on biodiversity (Gruner et al. 2017), a study quantifying the effects of an invasive seaweed on community structure and ecosystem functioning (Ramsay-Newton et al. 2017), a paper highlighting the neglected importance … [ Read More ]

May 25, 2017 | More stuff on the beach

More stuff washed up on Orange County beaches last week: the stretch of sand just north of the Newport Pier was carpeted with little bean clams (Donax gouldii) last Wednesday. By Thursday, most of the clams had re-buried in the sand, but Matt went out to take a look and chatted with reporters from CBS … [ Read More ]

December 1, 2016 | Squishy stuff on the beach

These funny little squishy, translucent blobs washed up on Orange County beaches earlier this week, prompting interest and alarm from local beachgoers. After much head scratching and a few wrong turns (nope, they are not salps), Matt and others figured out that they were burrowing sea cucumbers: absolutely harmless, intriguing, and super-cute. Matt was interviewed by and … [ Read More ]

September 6, 2016 | Ph.inally Ph.inisheD.

Congratulations to Kylla Benes! Kylla successfully defended her dissertation today, giving a fantastic presentation about her work to understand intraspecific variation in the seaweed Fucus vesiculosus along tide-height gradients along the coastline of the Gulf of Maine. She melded genetics, physiology, and field experiments to tell a compelling story about how environmental context and dispersal mediate … [ Read More ]

August 9, 2016 | Nutrient uptake by seaweeds

Newly published research by graduate student Kylla Benes highlights the role of tidal elevation and nutrient availability in mediating nitrate uptake by the intertidal seaweed Fucus vesiculosus. In her paper, just out online in the Journal of Phycology, Kylla reports on observations and experiments that describe how acclimation and adaptation to differences in nitrate availability associated with tide height … [ Read More ]

April 18, 2016 | Laura Elsberry receives UCI OCEANS graduate fellowship

Congratulations to Ph.D. student Laura Elsberry! Laura was recently named a member of the inaugural cohort of UCI OCEANS graduate fellows. She received funding to support her research on understanding seaweed species distributions along the California coast.

February 22, 2016 | Understanding the interactions between species in tide pools

Tide pools, like the ones at Corona del Mar State Beach on the Orange County coast, are ideal places to study marine biology. They hold water when the tide is out, allowing animals and marine “plants” – seaweeds and microscopic algae – to live in an otherwise inhospitable environment. The Marine Biodiversity Lab, led by Associate … [ Read More ]