Saturdays at the Lab

The Wrigley Marine Science Center holds an open house on Saturdays during the summer for visitors who want to see the inside of a working marine lab. This is a two-hour tour, open to the public, that begins in the lecture hall of the Wrigley Marine Science Center, two miles east of Two Harbors on Catalina Island. Visitors can check out a touch tank, research exhibits, a science lecture and a tour of a hyperbaric chamber (unless the chamber is being used for treatments). Download the Saturdays at the Lab flier.

For more information, call (310) 510-0811.

2016 Dates:

May 28 – September 3, 2016 (excluding July 23rd)
Saturdays 10am-12pm


2016 Science Lectures


Alexis Estrada

"Factors contributing to the recovery of green abalone at Santa Catalina Island"



My research is investigating factors contributing to the apparent population growth of green abalone at Santa Catalina Island. This study is focused on the habitat, movement, and recruitment of green abalone and will provide a better understanding of what is happening with this population and why.


Bingran Cheng

"The unseen majority: microbial lives at the ocean floor"



Marine sediment harbors abundant and diverse microbial communities. Unlike most living organisms, these microorganisms live in complete darkness. Instead of gaining energy from sunlight, they breathe and grow through various forms of chemical reactions. The sediment microbial communities are not only the producers in the benthic food web, but also essential players of the global biogeochemical cycles. Microbial processes are major components of environmentally relevant topics including but not limited to hydrocarbon degradation and greenhouse gas emission. 


Griffin Srednick

"Non-native Sargassum at Catalina Island: Do fish care?"



In temperate marine environments, the physical structure of algae (e.g., giant kelp) can provide important shelter from predation for juvenile fishes and increased access to food. Since its introduction in 2005, Sargassum horneri has begun to occupy habitat formerly dominated by giant kelp. S. horneri appears to thrive in warm water periods and offers a much shorter physical structure than giant kelp. These changes are expected to alter the distribution of fishes throughout the water column. My research aims to better understand how differences in the height and type of algae affects fishes along the west end of Santa Catalina Island. 


Emily Orzechowski

"Environmental & ecological change over the past 120,000 years in southern California's coastal marine habitas"



The peak of the Last Interglacial Period (120,000 years ago) marked an interval of climatic change. In this talk I will summarize paleontological and paleoclimatic evidence for profound ecological and environmental changes that occurred during this interval- and compare it to the present-day- in southern California's coastal marine habitats.


Emily Meese

"Are horn sharks (Heterodontus francisci) keystone predators of the kelp forest?"



Urchins are an important species of the kelp forest because they help create the structure and function of the community.  With too many urchins feeding on kelp, the kelp forest and all its diversity is lost.  But, if there are urchin predators around to help keep the urchin population in check, the kelp system is balanced and can promote a diverse, healthy ecosystem.  Horn sharks are a known predator of urchins, but we don’t know the extent of their predatory behavior and what their impacts on the whole kelp forest could be.  My project aims to understand these predatory impacts by surveying the population structure at Catalina Island and by tracking individuals geo-positional and 3D movements. 


Casey Barr

"Environmental microbiology & the search for electric life"





Russell Dauksis

"Top-down versus bottom-up trophic effects on subtidal eelgrass communities"



My project aims to investigate whether predatory fishes (top-down) contribute to trophic cascades within eelgrass beds, and how this compares to nutrient additions that simulate nutrient pollution.  Eelgrass is a nursery habitat for economically important fishes and invertebrates globally, but unfortunately 90% of historic eelgrass area is gone in southern California.  It is critical to understand the of what influences the health of eelgrass is needed to help conserve this ecosystem in peril.


Joshua Kling

"Changing the game: How climate change is reshaping marine microbial communities"



The majority of living things in our oceans are invisible. Being too small to see without a microscope, a single drop of seawater can hold millions of life forms. All together, these organisms support the ocean’s food web and offset climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This work is an exploration of the affect increasingly higher CO2 levels will have on microbial life in the waters around Catalina Island.  


Xiaoshen Yin

"Farmed oysters – "The best of the best" seafood on the Seafood Watch Super Green List"



Having been introduced from Asia to all continents but Antarctica, the Pacific oyster is of high scientific and commercial values. Thanks to its characteristics, the Pacific oyster is a great candidate for promoting the development of sustainable aquaculture, which aims to provide wholesome, economically viable and environmentally friendly seafood for human. My presentation focuses on why I am interested in studying genetics of the Pacific oyster and what approaches can be adopted to improve the yield of farmed oysters in practice.


Caitlin McGarigal

"The stressful side of fishing"



Recreational fishing is an important part of Califonria culture. But catch-and-release can be a traumatic experience for fish that are fighting to escape, being exposed to air, and possibly injured from fishing tackle or the handling process. The stress can affect a fish's growth, reproduction and behavior, ultimately impacting the entire population. The objectives of my reseach are to 1) Determine how catch-and-release affects fish, 2) Measure survival rates and recovery once released, and 3) Identify specific things fishermen can do to minimize stress in these valuable recreational species.


Nathan Churches

"Continuation of aquaculture-science development at WIES, with a focus on Mytilus galloprovincialis genetic improvement"



Making bigger, tastier shellfish as a sustainable seafood source for our planet.


Genoa Sullaway

"Assessing the consequences of an invasive alga (S. horneri) on marine reserve ecosystem function"



I will speak about the invasive Sargassum horneri and my experiments that measure how S. horneri may be altering net primary production in the algae communities it has invaded in southern California.


Jason Wang

"New scientific approaches to improving food production from the ocean"





Kenneth Bolster

"Detection of Ferrous Iron in marine surface waters in the presence of photochemically generated interferences"