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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?
Tags: , ,


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


Posted by: nina-karnovsky | August 9, 2015 | No Comment |

Mimi presented her summer research at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Summer Undergraduate Poster Session.


She gave a great two minute talk!

Mimi giving her two minute teaser

For the rest of the poster session she was surrounded.

Mimi giving the scoop!

It was really exciting that her Mom and Dad were able to see her in action!


I was very proud too!

Filed under: Antarctic, Senior Thesis
Tags: ,

A regular Sea Ranch day and many thanks!

Posted by: nicole2015 | August 7, 2015 | 2 Comments |

Hi all! I’m still at Sea Ranch with my family but Kyle, Leo, and Jeffrey went home yesterday and our field work is done!  For a while I’ve been meaning to upload a “day in the life of” type post where I describe one of our normal days, so here it is even if it is a little late!

Most days we woke up at 6:00 AM, got organized, ate some breakfast (below is a morning bun from Two Fish Bakery, a treat my dad got us while he was visiting!), and headed out to Gualala Point Island (also below).


IMG_5873 (1)


This is me entering data on the Nest Survey form.


After GPI we headed back home for a few hours that we mostly used on catching up with data entry (seen above) or other work like keeping the log (seen below).


After some lunch it was time for our PECO study or BLOY study depending on the day.  Kyle and his BLOY site are featured below:



(Even on cold, overcast days it’s easy to get sunburnt, hence the umbrella!)


After our afternoon studies we had more time to work on data entry or other projects.  I walked to my parents house one evening to check on the house and my pet rat Glenn and took the above picture of the evening sun.


Then dinner! (Above is Jeffrey’s tater tots and sloppy joes.)


Then a bit of cleaning up and potentially some free time before bed!

Because this is probably my last blog post for this project I wanted to throw in some photos from the last few weeks I never got to post:


Here’s Kyle and Leo in the recording studio from when we were interviewed for the local radio station!


Here’s a young rubber boa (notice the tail is stubby to look like its head) that we saw on a hike with my dad!


And here’s a selfie from our last day out in the field! (We’re in front of GPI even though you can’t see it!)

Lastly I wanted to thank my fellow students, Leo, Kyle, and Jeffrey, for being great to work with and entertaining in our free time. The four of us would like to thank all the wonderful people who made this summer amazing and a great learning opportunity, including everyone from the Sea Ranch Task Force, the BLM, and the Madrone Audubon Society who made this project possible.  Thank you to my parents Liz Keene and Dale McDuffie as well as Dibby Tyler for graciously housing us, even in the peril of their homes! Thank you for the team from UC Santa Cruz for the opportunity to help with an intertidal survey and to Doug Forsell for taking us along on the fascinating search for marbled murrelets! Also to Molly Engelbrecht and others at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory for organizing a fantastic tour of the premises and a taste of grad school!

Finally thank you to the Diane and Bryant Hichwa for many dinners and the use of their home, computers, scanners, and wifi (as well as their loving dog Bridget!); Diane was an immense help/expert in our project and a great mentor along the way!  Jim Weigand also made time in his busy schedule to be an inspiring mentor and help in numerous ways and of course Nina Karnovsky was, as always, an invaluable adviser in all things! Thank you all for making this summer an incredible experience!

Filed under: News, Sea Ranch

Behind the Scenes: The Sea Ranchers

Posted by: leo2015 | August 5, 2015 | No Comment |

Here are just a few sneak peeks into what goes on in the quest for blog material and research data.


Jeffrey and Kyle taking photos of some type of cliff rodent. (The hats are part of the process too!)


(Me) doodling caricatures of the nesting pelagic cormorants. Field research means field sketches too right?


Jeffrey scoping out the (Western gull) chicks. Yes, we all make that face when we use the scopes.


Some times the car ride between studies is the best time to lay down for a bit… If you don’t mind the teasing.

pic on bluff

Out and about during the BLM Point Arena-Stornetta celebration. Not quite a selfie but the rock formations were too wonderful to leave out of the shot so it’ll have to do.

Filed under: News, Sea Ranch

Poster Palooza Begins!

Posted by: nina-karnovsky | August 1, 2015 | 1 Comment |

Now that the summer field season is coming to an end, the poster presentations are beginning! Elika presented her research comparing the vertebrates in burned and unburned coastal sage scrub at the biology department end of summer poster session.
Elika presenting her results

Elika’s research was supported by a grant from the Thoreau Foundation and from the Rose Hills Foundation. Congratulations Elika!

Filed under: Bernard Field Station, BFS

Seabird/Woodrat Selfie Challenge!

Posted by: nicole2015 | July 29, 2015 | No Comment |

Mimi passed on the selfie challenge to me, and after a bit of a Wifi mishap yesterday here it is!


Here’s Kyle and I during our survey of Gualala Point Island, which you can see along with our scopes behind us!

I pass the torch on to Leo!

Filed under: News

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