|Photo by Robert Schwemmer/NOAA
On an island and at a time not so far away, I once had the pleasure of doing field biology work. On and off for several years in graduate school, I studied black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) on Santa Cruz Island off Santa Barbara. For
years, I also participated in many other research projects
conducted by colleagues. I've never lost a personal interest
in field biology and still find it one of the most rewarding
activities I've done.
This edition of Ecosystem Observations provides me,
personally -- and you too, I hope -- with the opportunity to
experience the rewards of field biology work vicariously.
That's not to say field work is easy, because it's not. It
means climbing over stinky dead whales; queasy hours
spent offshore in rough, windy conditions; or pulling on a
cold wetsuit to wade into tidepools with the evening fog
My personal curiosity of all things abalone is whetted a
bit in the article inside about human impacts in the rocky
intertidal. While kayaking in Monterey Bay several years ago,
I began to wonder many things about the plethora of jellies in the bay: Where do they come from? How do they all get here together? Some answers to this, too, are inside. If I ever win
the lottery, I'd volunteer to be a field biologist and join Scott Benson to study, and I hope save, leatherback turtles. There's hopeful news in this edition about this reptile, one of the most impressive large organisms on this planet.
I get so much out of these and all the other stories from our field biologist colleagues. Their contributions to Ecosystem Observations -- the fruits of the many challenges involved in conducting field work -- are inspiring to us all.
William J. Douros, Superintendent
NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
A PDF version of this report is available here:
ecoobs2005.pdf (1.5 MB)