Sea Urchin Disease Dynamics and Climate Change in CA Kelp Forests

Nikka Malakooti – Kroeker lab

Positions: 2

Tentative dates: Tentatively June – early September

Project Location: Coastal Campus, potentially day trips to sites along the Monterey Bay

Project Background: Interested in mysterious diseases sweeping through populations, changing the fate of the kelp forest? Come investigate sea urchin disease dynamics with the Kroeker and Kilpatrick labs this summer! We’ll use experimental infections, data analysis, and possibly field surveys to look into how climate change, body condition, and population density affect urchin mortality due to black spot and wasting disease.

Intern duties: Interns will assist with design, maintenance, and data collection/entry for lab experiments (monitoring water in tanks, recording disease progression in urchins, assessing body condition through dissection/weighing). Possible assistance with field collections and surveys if AAUS SCUBA certified. If a student is interested in microbiology, we could develop a project to characterize the microbial profile of the healthy vs sick urchins.

Intern qualifications: We are looking for students who are enthusiastic, responsible, willing to ask questions and troubleshoot, good communicators, and excited about disease ecology, global change, and spiky marine invertebrates.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?
Volunteering in spring quarter would be great, but it is not required.

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.