Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Seminars

All Springr 2021 seminars will be done remotely via Zoom.

Seminar Coordinator: Matt McCarthy

For disability-related accommodations: call (831) 459-4730 or email Rondi Robison


    April 2

  • TBD

  • April 9

  • Marilyn Fogel, UC Riverside

    *Special Seminar time at 12 PM*
    Geoecology through the lens of a stable isotope biogeochemist. A story of a rich career in science.

    The seminar will describe Fogel’s career as it relates to the scientific discoveries she made along her way through a fifty-year career (1970 to 2020).  Often it is said that an individual’s impact on scientific thought is incremental. This observation is undoubtedly true, but without many scientists making incremental progress big paradigm shifts and breakthroughs might not happen. Fogel will talk about about studies that began simply and modestly and ended with surprising results, as well as studies that began with fanfare and fizzled. The uncertainty in science is what keeps scientists going and working on the incremental science that may lead to bigger breakthroughs.

  • April 16

  • Emmanuel Boss, University of Maine

    Four disruptive technologies that are revolutionizing sensing of the oceans

    The maker movement (cheap electronics + sharing), automated microscopy,  autonomous platforms and small footprint satellites have been revolutionizing oceanography, opening a variety of new avenues for research and requiring a different education model. In this talk I will summarize a few activities my lab has been involved in associated with these disruptive technologies and why I am very optimistic for the future of our field in coming years.

  • April 23

  • TBD

  • April 30

  • Anitra Ingalls, University of Washington

    Particulate and dissolved metabolite signatures of marine microbial communities: taxonomy, metabolic pathways and the carbon cycle

    The central function of plankton community metabolism is to transform inorganic nutrients into thousands of organic molecules, called metabolites. Yet relatively little is known about the structural diversity, concentration, and turnover of these metabolites or the interactions they mediate within marine plankton communities. In this talk I will present metabolomes from natural communities and phytoplankton cultures to show that the intracellular pool of metabolites is dominated by small polar compounds. Some of the most abundant compounds have not previously been measured in the ocean and the amount and composition of these metabolites in natural plankton communities reflects both taxonomic diversity and physiological plasticity of the phytoplankton present. Metabolites enter the dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool through intentional excretion and mortality and we suspect that metabolites are part of the labile DOM pool. However, the lack of methods to measure polar compounds in seawater has hindered work to understanding the role of dissolved metabolites in ecosystem function. I will present a new method for isolating and measuring polar metabolites in seawater. I will aslo results from an incubation experiment aimed at understanding the cycling of glycine betaine, one of the most abundant metabolites in plankton. Combined with genetic and genomic approaches glycine betaine serves as a model system for envisioning how the larger pool of nitrogen containing betaines present in DOM flow through microbial communities

  • May 7

  • Brian Popp, University of Hawaii

    Amino Acid Compound Specific Isotopic Compositions Reveal Sources of Organic Matter Used by Ecosystems in the Deep Ocean

    Deep marine ecosystems depend on the downward flux of detrital organic matter from the euphotic zone. Only ~5-25% of net primary production is exported below the euphotic layer and mass balance calculations argue that this fixed carbon must be adequate to meet the respiratory demands of deep-sea food webs. However, the estimated metabolic carbon demand of deep-sea fauna frequently exceed organic carbon supplied from overlying waters. In this presentation, I will review controls on the amino acid isotopic composition of particles and metazoans and show that the nitrogen isotopic composition of individual amino acids provides unique insight into potential food sources supporting food webs in the deep (700-1500 m) sea.

  • May 14

  • Kim Cobb

    Corals and climate change - from impacts to solutions


    The global-scale coral bleaching and mortality event that took place in 2016 brought into sharp relief the near-term impacts of continued ocean warming on global reefs. In this talk, Kim Cobb will use a large database of coral paleoclimate records to probe the history of ocean temperature extremes, from the pre-industrial to modern period. In doing so, she will place the 2016 global-scale coral bleaching and mortally event in a longer-term context, and discuss their implications for future climate trends and extremes. The recent spate of climate change-related extremes provides a backdrop for Dr. Cobb’s reflection on her own journey as a climate scientist, the lessons it holds for shaping a sustainable climate future, and how science can and must evolve to meet the most pressing challenges of the 21st century.

  • May 21

  • Kelton McMahon, University of Rhode Island

    Atoms to Ecosystems: Molecular isotope approaches to studying of food web architecture in an age of global change

    The sources and cycling of organic matter play pivotal roles in the structure, function, and resilience of ecosystems. In this talk, I will explore how molecular isotope patterns in the tissues of Antarctic penguins from ancient (e.g., from paleontological excavations), historic (e.g., from natural history museum archives), and modern (e.g., from recent oceanographic cruises) collections can tell a story about how krill predators respond to long term climate variation, historic marine mammal harvest, and more recent human-caused climate change. These studies illustrate the power of taking a molecular-level approach to food web ecology to provide an ecosystem-scale view of past and present ecosystem responses to environmental change.

  • May 28

  • Kate Freeman, Penn State

    Traces of Fire

    Sedimentary organic matter contains a rich archive of information about past climates and environments. Fire can disturb and stabilize modern ecosystems, although evidence for its role on deep timescales has been limited or ambiguous. Armed with new ways to study past fire signals using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), I will explore how distributions and isotope signatures of these compounds allow us to test if wildfire accelerated the rise of grasslands, and to trace the redistribution of carbon weathered from soils and sedimentary rocks during past climate upheavals.