Once hunted to the brink of extinction for their luxuriant pelts, California sea otters rebounded after protections were put in place in 1911. Their population grew steadily for much of the last century, but now the still threatened species is stuck at about 3,000 otters. The problem is that they are boxed in at both ends of their current range, along the state’s central coast, by a sharp (and so far unexplained) rise in shark attacks.
“They’re so majestic,” ecologist Brent Hughes says as he looks out across Elkhorn Slough, a large winding estuary off the Monterey Bay coastline. He’s not talking about whales or pelicans. He’s talking about a tiny, slimy, aquatic slug — the eelgrass sea hare. Donning his wetsuit, Hughes hops into his kayak and paddles off toward a section of water where the sea hares live, in an underwater meadow of seagrass.
Also known as the Taylor’s sea hare, these humble, zebra-striped slices of green jello are actually crucial to the health of their eelgrass meadow ecosystem.
My name is Catie Thow, I am a second-year master’s student at San Francisco State University’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center studying phytoplankton primary productivity and nutrient uptake in Suisun Marsh. Throughout California’s shelter-in-place mandates I worked on an interactive ESRI StoryMap with the San Francisco Bay NERR. The goal of this project was to create an informative and interactive webpage that showcased the Lower Spring Branch Creek Enhancement Project that was completed in Fall, 2019.
Read Daniel Yim's account of tangential learning in The Undercurrent @ EOS, the graduate student blog.
This week revealed the deep failure of our nation to acknowledge how racism shapes our world, our nation, our institutions, and our relationships. SF State’s mission includes an “unwavering commitment to social justice,” and the EOS Center’s mission includes commitments to environmental justice and educational equity. We will not be silent.
With COVID-19 moving classes off campus, instructors find creative ways to give students a top-notch education.
Hundreds of San Francisco State University faculty members are now teaching students remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the story and find out how one EOS Center professor and her students continue their studies and research.
Mike Vasey, associate director of science engagement at the San Francisco Estuary and Ocean Science Center in Tiburon, shares "shelter in place" impacts on the center's research programs and graduate students.