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SAGEHENS win awards at scientific meeting

Posted by: nina-karnovsky | May 12, 2017 | No Comment |

Gail’17 won an award for Best Undergraduate Presentation and Kyle’17 won an honorable mention for Best Undergraduate Poster at the Pacific Seabird Group Meeting!

Congratulations to Gail’17!

Congratulations to Kyle’17!

Filed under: Farallon Island, Sea Ranch
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Posted by: nina-karnovsky | February 26, 2017 | No Comment |

Gail’17 presented part of her senior thesis at the 44th annual meeting of the Pacific Seabird group.


Great job Gail!

Filed under: Farallon Island, News, Senior Thesis
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Sagehens at the Pacific Seabird Group meeting!

Posted by: nina-karnovsky | February 25, 2017 | No Comment |

The 44th annual meeting in Tacoma is underway. Kyle’17 presented the results of three years of study at The Sea Ranch in a poster. Co-authors were Ellie’18, Jeffrey’17, Ramon’16 and Diane Hichwa from Madrone Audubon. Kyle’s parents came to see him present!

Kyle explains his results

Pomona students Gail (left) and Kyle (right) with Prof K.

Filed under: News, Sea Ranch
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Wrapping Up At Sea Ranch

Posted by: ellenh | July 28, 2016 | No Comment |

Hi All,

Today is my last day collecting data at Sea Ranch–the weather is very foggy and a little bit rainy. I think Seattle might be sending its weather down here, telling me it’s time to head home. Here is a photo from this morning at GPI N that shows the fog and the difficulties it creates in collecting data!



The breeding season here at Sea Ranch has been a little unusual this year, especially at GPI. Overall, there were a total of 38 nests at GPI N and 41 nests at GPI S. Unfortunately, we did not see any WEGU chicks from any nests reach the juvenile stage of development. About half of the WEGU nests hatched chicks and half were abandoned before any chicks were seen. We suspect that a Peregrine falcon may be the cause of this abnormal number of chicks, as one morning, a group at GPI S witnessed the falcon swooping low over the gulls and snatching up a chick! Following that incident, we often saw a Peregrine falcon perched on the far north end of GPI, spying on potential prey.

The Pelagic cormorants at Breakers Reach had a better year than the WEGUs at GPI, with about a 50% success rate in the number of nests that hatched chicks. Of 28 nests, so far 14 nests have hatched eggs, 13 nests have been abandoned, and one is still sitting on a nest with three eggs. Overall, it seems like once Pelagic chicks hatch, they make it to adulthood. Only one nest had a chick that disappeared after a few days and the nest was abandoned shortly afterwards.


Thank you to everyone who played such an important role in this summer’s adventures! This was an incredible experience that taught me so much about long term ecological studies, dedicated observation skills, and asking thoughtful questions that may not have a clear answer. It was wonderful meeting many Sea Ranch locals and visitors and getting to share what we have been working on these past three years (at Pomona) and past several years (with the Sea Ranch Task Force).

For now, goodbye Sea Ranch, I hope to see you again!



Filed under: News

Update From Sea Ranch!

Posted by: ellenh | June 28, 2016 | 1 Comment |

We have a chick! On June 17th, the first Pelagic cormorant chicks were seen at Breakers Reach at Site E, nest #4. There appears to be at least 3 chicks, but may be four. Two days ago (June 26th), I saw the first chick at Site C, which is the site I am doing feeding observations at this summer. That day, I set up my station and started looking at all of the PECO nests. When I got to nest #4, there was a tiny chick peeping out from under its parent, bobbing its head around, looking for something to eat. The following day another chick had hatched at the same nest and I expect a few more from that nest and a few other nests over the next week.

I attempted to take photos through the scope, but as you can tell from the photo below, I haven’t been that successful…


This was an attempted photo of the BLOY nest I have been watching. I am working on my skills and hopefully will get better at this, so more people can see the Pelagic chicks! For now, please enjoy a photo of a banana slug I saw and a beautiful sunset from Sea Ranch!



More photos and updates coming soon!


Filed under: News

Hello From Sea Ranch! Summer 2016

Posted by: ellenh | June 15, 2016 | 2 Comments |

Hello from Sea Ranch! This summer, I have embarked to Sea Ranch to continue the work of the past two summers (thank you to everyone who came the past two years!). I visit Gualala Point Island almost every morning and observe sea birds and their nests from either the north or the south. Here is the beautiful south view point


So far, we have fewer visible nests, but more Brandt’s nests from the aerial photos. We are waiting for an aerial photo from June, in which there will hopefully be a lot more nests!

I also spend most afternoons at Breaker Reach, watching a group of Pelagic Cormorants. There are seven nests there and three of the nests have eggs in them. Two of the nests have four eggs and the third has three eggs. I am keeping my eyes out for more eggs as they come. Once a week, I observe a Black Oystercatcher pair at Tidepool. The pair recently hatched three chicks! Below is a photo of the observation point. I attempted to get a photo through the scope, but was unsuccessful.


I will continue posting with more updates on the sea birds and life at Sea Ranch!


Filed under: Sea Ranch


Posted by: nina-karnovsky | June 14, 2016 | No Comment |


Gregor and Nik.

Gregor Mendel and Nik’11.

Nik’11 who studied how the distribution of seabirds varied around Santa Barbara Island for his senior thesis, is finishing his Master’s degree in Economics at the Univerzita Karlova, in Prague, Czech Republic. He is doing the important work of environmental economics. He has managed to combine his interests in biology, botany and economics! Nik made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Mendelian genetics; Mendel’s abbey where he carried out his classic pea experiments!

Nik is behind the E in Gregor.

Nik is behind the E in Gregor.

The peas!

The peas!




Filed under: Channel Islands, Congrats to Students, Herring, Senior Thesis, Where are they now?

Where are they now? Part XI

Posted by: nina-karnovsky | February 6, 2016 | No Comment |

Sagehens with Albatrosses! Both Kristina McOmber’12 and Nai de Gracia’14 are working on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge! Here they are fixing a gapped band of a black-footed albatross. Albatross are so long lived that they need their bands re-closed if they start to develop gaps in order to last the next several decades.

Kristina and Nai ensuring that the band that this albatross wears won't fall off.

Kristina holds the bird while Nai ensures that the band that this albatross wears won’t fall off.

Nai holds the bird while Kristina (wearing Pomona College sweatshirt) fixes the band.

Nai holds the bird while Kristina (wearing Pomona College sweatshirt) fixes the band.


Filed under: Farallon Island, Hawaii, News, Where are they now?
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Posted by: nina-karnovsky | September 4, 2015 | 1 Comment |

The summer undergraduate research program (SURP) poster session was held yesterday and Jeffrey, Kyle, Leo, Mimi and Elika presented posters.

Jeffrey talks about whether nest success one year predicts nest success again.

Jeffrey talks about whether nest success one year predicts nest success again.


Leo talk about the impacts of El Nino on seabirds.

Kyle talks about the impacts of El Nino on seabirds.


Leo tells the story of the murre invasion on Gualala Point Island.

Leo tells the story of the murre invasion on Gualala Point Island.


Elika talks about vertebrate diversity in burned and unburned areas of the BFS.

Elika talks about vertebrate diversity in burned and unburned areas of the BFS.


Mimi discusses the ages of fish consumed by skuas.

Mimi discusses the ages of fish consumed by skuas.

Jeffrey presented his poster twice that day, the second time was at a dinner to thank donors who contributed to the SURP program.

Jeffrey gives a second presentation of his poster.

Jeffrey gives a second presentation of his poster.

Everyone did an OUTSTANDING job!


Filed under: Antarctic, Bernard Field Station, BFS, Congrats to Students, Sea Ranch

Wrapping up an AMAZING summer!

Posted by: Mimi | August 20, 2015 | No Comment |

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the wonderful people who made this summer so spectacular, especially Joel Llopiz and everyone in his lab!

Joel was SO generous and made space for me to bring in and work on a new project in his already very busy lab. Also happening in the lab were studies looking at the diets of forage fish along the NE coast through gut analysis and stable isotopes, and using otoliths from larval river herring from different areas to determine growth rate and survivorship. Really cool stuff!!

So much of what made this summer so great is the amazing people who I was able to work with. Joel, Martha, Andy, and Julie (and Penny): thank you so much for all of your great advice and guidance, and for welcoming me into your lab family this summer. I had such a wonderful, interesting, educational, and unforgettable summer at WHOI!

To everyone reading this, check out Joel’s lab page!!

Thank you,


Filed under: Antarctic, News, Senior Thesis

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