Lectures on Indigenous Cultures of Catalina Island

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; July 25, 2014: 1-4:00pm

Presented by the CSUN Pimu Catalina Island Archaeological Field School.
"Working with Indigenous Communities: Respect and Reciprocity, by Tharron Bloomfield," Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Conservation Resident, 1:00pm
"Tongva Use of Plants and Native Teas," by Craig Torres (Tongva), 2:00pm
"California Native American Basketry," by Tashina Miranda (Luiseno), 4:00pm


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; July 26, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

Hamdi Kitapci, University of Southern California


"Influence of Environmental Variables on Movements and Behavior of the Leopard Shark, Triakis semifasciata" with Connor White, California State University, Long Beach
During summer months a large number of leopard sharks aggregate in Big Fisherman Cove to seek out warm water. I am trying to use technology to answer questions about why sharks are selecting Big Fisherman Cove and really how sharks make decisions. I am using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), to track and record the position of sharks, while I attach behavioral data loggers to individuals. This will allow me to determine what sharks and doing, as well as where they are doing it. I hope to use this information to determine how environmental conditions such as waves, temperature and habitat type influence the behaviors and activity levels of leopard sharks.

Past Events


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; July 19, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

“Looking in Marine Sediments for New “Electrogenic” Bacteria - Applications in Energy Generation and Bioremediation” with Bonita LamUniversity of Southern California
The metabolic versatility of microorganisms allows them to thrive and survive in environments where most all other life would not be found. My project focuses on looking at marine sediments, more specifically the depths in marine sediment where there is no oxygen present. I use a targeted culturing technique where I can find bacteria with a specific ability/metabolism by burying electrodes in the sediment and applying an electrical potential. These electrodes provide electrons – an energy source to the bacteria that are able to take electrons from the electrode. This ability is called extracellular electron transfer (EET). EET has only been recently discovered and studied extensively in model microorganisms. Discovering more microorganisms that have this capability is crucial and will contribute to our understanding of biogeochemical cycling. In addition, these microbes could contribute to biofuel generation and bioremediation (using bacteria to clean up toxic pollutants).


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; July 12, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

"Examination of Oxidative Stress through the Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species in the Marine Copepod, Tigripus californicus in its Native Habitat" with Patrick SunUniversity of Southern California
Pollution adaptation and acclimation in a marine crustacean Tigriopus that lives in tide pools. My research primarily focuses on studying pollution tolerance and how marine life responds to pollution exposure. My research also looks at the natural habitat of Tigriopus for environmental factors that may influence pollution tolerance.



Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; July 5, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

"Uncovering the Secrets of Sex Change: Mapping the Sex Change Pathway in Gobiid fishes" with Jessica Maxfield, University of Hawaii at Manoa
There is amazing diversity in the ways in which fishes reproduce, anything humans can imagine doing fish do naturally. They form mating pair bonds, have harems (dominated by a male or a female), change sex (back and forth or in one direction), have social and environmental control of their sex determining systems and so much more. My research seeks to elucidate the mechanisms that allow for this diversity in one family of fishes, Gobiidae. Using molecular techniques, I am exploring the evolution of the ability the change sex in both directions in two representative species. I will be addressing questions such as: Are the genes and gene pathways used by these two species similar or different? How many times has sex change likely evolved in this family?  And has this ability contributed to the groups overall success? I hope to uncover what genes regulate a switch from egg production to sperm production and back again, a process that has never before been documented from a molecular perspective.


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; June 28, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

"Monitoring Marine Pollution with Mussels" with Megan Hall, University of Southern California
Copper is a problematic pollutant in urbanized areas and waters with high boating activity. Copper pollution is primarily derived from antifouling paints on the hulls of boats and storm water runoff. Copper can be harmful to many marine organisms, but it is unclear to what extent. The levels of allowable copper in coastal waters are recommended by the EPA. These limits are determined by an EPA assay which exposes embryos of the mussel Mytilus to copper for 48 hours, and quantifies survival and normal development at the end of this brief exposure. My research incorporates molecular techniques into this assay to develop a more sensitive metric of copper pollution. I have also extended the monitoring period beyond the initial 48 hours to determine any long term effects on the survival and development of mussel larvae. Ideally, this research will be able to provide a more rapid and sensitive measure for the effects of copper toxicity on the marine mussel, and thus inform policy makers about appropriate limits for copper in marine waters.

“Shark tracking Using Autonomous Underwater Vehicles” with Yukun Lin, Harvey Mudd College
Studying the movement of sharks and other fish is an important tool for monitoring and maintaining fish populations and their habitat. However, quantifying these movements poses significant challenges. Typical methods for tracking tagged individuals manually or with static hydrophone arrays are limited by human endurance and coverage respectively. To address these issues, we have developed a system of multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) capable of autonomously tracking and following an acoustically tagged leopard shark. The multi-AUV system has been field tested, and is capable of tracking tagged leopard sharks for extended periods of time with an accuracy on par with human tracking. This summer, I plan to use the multi-AUV tracking system in combination with accelerometer data loggers to collect fine scale spatial and behavioral data of leopard sharks in Big Fisherman Cove, Catalina Island.


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; June 21, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

“Genetic Selective Breeding in Bivalves” with Nathan Churches, University of Southern California
For thousands of years humans have used selective breeding to improve various species of plants and animals. I am interested in discovering the genes that allow shellfish to grow in commercial aquaculture settings, with the idea that we can promote these genes in a selective breeding program. With selective breeding we can create shellfish that are not only valuable for commercial industry, but can be used in ecological contexts for purposes of bioremediation, oceanic landscape retention, and as ecosystem health barometers. This project also helps underpin a growing presence of locally based sustainable aquaculture in the Southern California area, which will increase the productivity and health of our local waterways. Results from this project may also be used to help poor countries increase their oceanic food productivity, an increasingly important topic in the modern fisheries era.



Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; June 14, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm 

“Reproductive Behavior of the Giant Sea Bass, Stereolepis gigas” with J.R. Clark, California State University, Northridge
Giant sea bass are the largest and only teleost megacarnivore found in the California kelp bed community. They have been targeted for both recreational and commercial fishing since the late 1800’s causing the numbers to dwindle so rapidly that they are now on the IUCN Red List as a critically endangered species. For being such a popular trophy fish, there is very little known about their life history and behaviors. Reproductive strategies lay the foundation for an organism's success. I will be investigating the reproductive behaviors and mating system of giant sea bass with hopes to aid in the preservation of this species. Understanding these strategies and behaviors will aid in the conservation of the giant sea bass. The little information that we have about giant sea bassis mainly speculation with little to no data to back it up and I hope to in the gaps.

“Direct and Indirect Impacts of Fishing on the Trophic Structure of Kelp Forest Fishes off Southern California” with Parker House, California State University, Northridge
The partitioning of food resources among different organisms in a community creates the trophic structure of an ecosystem. Altering this trophic structure by reducing or eliminating predators can drastically change the makeup of an entire community. My research focuses on how fishing for predatory fishes in Southern California kelp forest changes the overall fish community.



USC Maymester Student Symposium

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; June 13, 2014: 10:00am

"Where the Wild Things Float: Exploring zooplankton biodiversity at chlorophyll maxima" 
The students of the Maymester class BISC 457 - Methods in Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography would like to invite you to a symposium this Friday, June 13, at 10 am in the Wrigley Marine Science Center lecture hall to present the results of their independent research projects. This 4 week course is designed to introduce students to the marine environment and to guided independent research focusing on marine ecosystems. For more information please call 310-510-0811.


Saturday at the Lab Tour and Lecture

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; June 7, 2014: 10:00am to 12:00pm

"B-Vitamins and Primary Production: Algae need their vitamins too!" with Chris Suffridge, University of Southern California
Microbial plants in the ocean, phytoplankton, are incredibly important to all aspects of our lives. These microbes produce 50% of the Oxygen on the planet, and control global carbon dioxide concentrations which in turn controls the rate of global warming. In order to understand these vital process, we must understand the factors that control the growth of marine phytoplankton. It has been shown that B-vitamins exhibit control over phytoplankton dynamics. Chris's research is focused on understanding what role B-vitamins play in controlling phytoplankton production and therefore mediating these global scale processes.


Wild or Farmed? How to Sustain the Options for your Dinner Table

Onboard the M/V Odyssey in Chicago, IL; June 1, 2014

In an interactive panel discussion, Sean O’Scannlain, chief executive Fortune Fish and Gourmet, and USC Dornsife College’s Dennis Hedgecock, the Paxson H. Offield Professor in Fisheries Ecology, explored aquaculture’s opportunities and challenges—especially as they relate to the Great Lakes local food movement. The event was moderated by USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Director Roberta Marinelli.


Earth Month 2014!

USC, April 2014

Love the Earth? So do we! Get ready for USC Environmental Student Assembly’s first annual Earth Month! With a total of 28 events, there’s something for everyone!


2014 Tyler Prize Laureate Lecture - Simon A. Levin, Princeton University

USC Davidson Conference Center, UPC; April 24, 2014: 2:00pm to 3:30pm

"Obstacles and Opportunities in Environmental Management"
Dr. Simon A. Levin is considered to be one of the great quantitative ecologists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His pioneering research has helped form the conceptual foundations of ecology, and also applied ecological insights to problems in such diverse fields as natural resource management, public health, financial systems, and anti-terrorism efforts. Join us for Dr. Levin's Laureate Lecture as he receives the distinguished Tyler Prize award. 


Chamber Day/Eve 2014

USC Wrigley Marine Science Center, Catalina Island; May 7, 2014: 7:00am
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach; May 7, 2014: 7:00pm to 10:30pm

For the past 40 years the USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber has been dedicated to the treatment of diving accidents on a 24/7/365 basis. Having the Chamber available gives divers in Southern California waters a vital safety net in the event of a diving accident. For more information on how you can be involved in Chamber Day and Chamber Evening 2014, visit the Chamber Day web site at or call 310-652-4990. You can also get updates on Chamber Day and other Chamber Events by becoming a Facebook Fan of the Chamber.


ClimatePalooza 2014

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, UPC; March 28, 2014: 3:00pm to 9:00pm

Wrigley Institute educators joined other USC scientists and artists and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a vibrant multimedia festival featuring entertainment and dynamic opportunities to learn about the latest science defining climate change—and what we can do about this complex and crucial issue.


Wild or Farmed? How to Sustain the Options for your Dinner Table

The Pacific Club, Newport Beach, CA; March 10, 2014

In an interactive panel discussion, Sam King, chief executive of King's Seafood Co., USC Dornsife College’s Dennis Hedgecock, the Paxson H. Offield Professor in Fisheries Ecology, and Sergey Nuzhdin, Professor of Biological Sciences, explored aquaculture’s opportunities and challenges—especially as they relate to Southern California and the local food movement. Moderated by USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Director Roberta Marinelli.


USC Dornsife Sustainability Distinguished Lecture Series

Joyce J. Cammilleri Hall, UPC; March 6, 2014

"Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" with Dr. William Schlesinger, President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
As inaugural speaker of the Dornsife Sustainability Task Force’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Dr. Schlesinger presented a seminar entitled “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in which he described how human population growth, resource use, growth economics and biodiversity loss are the major problems facing a sustainable future, posing significant challenges rooted in our own Darwinian response to environment.


Dr. Roberta Marinelli


First Fridays 2014: L.A. Stories…Walk on the Wild Side

Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, CA; February 7, 2014

"Wet and Wild: Coastal Ecosystems and the Future of Southern California" with Dr. Roberta Marinelli
Southern California is inextricably linked to the ocean.  We depend on our coastal ecosystems for food, commerce, and recreation, and we celebrate our stunning vistas, but at the same time our actions on land and sea have compromised the health and wellbeing of our foremost asset. What steps have we taken to protect our seas, and have we been successful? What are the challenges and opportunities for protecting our coastal ocean in the future? Join Dr. Roberta Marinelli, Director of USC's Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, to learn about the role science can play in conserving our resources and adapting to the challenges that humans present.

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  • 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 410
  • Los Angeles, California 90089-0371