Biology Students and Faculty Mentors Exhibit Marine Research in Long Beach

Thumbnail image for coast1.jpgThe first faculty-student research poster reception of the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) was held Tuesday, Jan. 25 at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach. Faculty mentors and student researchers from twenty CSU campuses were present to discuss their marine and coastal research.

Topics of research varied from ocean acidification to sustainable seafood, including a project by Sonoma State University students Adele Paquin (pictured above) and Mike Tift titled "Phytoplankton to predators: Marine ecology, physiology and oceanography at SSU."

The students were mentored by assistant professor of biology Daniel Crocker and associate professor of biology Karina Nielsen, as well as by Erika McPhee-Shaw of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

The event gave students the opportunity to share their presentations with fellow researchers and professors, but also to the CSU presidents and trustees who were gathered in Long Beach.

"It was really wonderful," said Nielsen, of the opportunity for students to interact with the presidents and trustees. "They talked to each of the students. There was a lot of positive energy."

"It was a great learning experience," says Paquin, a graduate student. "We had to be flexible and create a presentation for fellow scientists, but also needed to be able to talk to lay-people."

The project objective was to complete funded, cutting-edge research while integrating extensive student involvement at every level.


"The biology department has a really amazing graduate program which involves a lot of undergraduates," explains Paquin. "They come in, they work in the lab with us, and it has a big impact."

The abstract of their project is as follows:

Microscopic phytoplankton form the base of marine food chains, are most abundant near the shore, and can sometimes be harmful, depending on the species, yet we know surprisingly little about how they accumulate in the surfzone and change in abundance over time. We are learning that wave-driven transport and changes in the buoyancy of some phytoplankton species, as ocean conditions change, may be responsible. Air-breathing marine vertebrates must rapidly develop physiological capacity for breath-hold diving in order to forage effectively and survive. In many pinniped species this developmental period coincides with long-duration fasting. Investigations on developing northern elephant seals have revealed dramatic changes in hormonal regulation of diving and the ability to down-regulate metabolism across the developmental fast. These studies link maternal foraging success, parental investment and physiological capacity in offspring.

For more information on COAST, visit the website at

Photos provided by Dr. Krista Kamer, COAST program coordinator

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