The decline in northern California kelp forests has triggered scientists and ecosystem managers to address the decline by better understanding the causes of kelp forest die-off. This unprecedented event has presented an opportunity to study the decline and work towards solutions for restoring kelp forests. With funding from The Nature Conservancy, the Hughes Lab at Sonoma State University will be conducting surveys across a gradient of kelp forest decline, as there are still a few resilient patches left to learn and study from.

The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) was established by the California Legislature in 1999, and it's main purpose was to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that would serve as "ocean parks" to protect marine life and habitat. We are now about 15 year into the process and to date we still have very little understanding of estuaries within the MLPA network, and if they are meeting their goals of enhancing fisheries and protecting biodiversity.

There is a growing understanding that adipose tissue releases hormones (adipokines) that help regulate metabolism, immune function and reproduction. This study examines changes in blubber gene expression and blood concentrations of adipokines in naturally fasting elephant seals, examines their relationship to immune markers and reproductive hormones, and will provide novel information on how body condition influences health and reproduction in wildlife.

The goal of this project is to uncover how human cells regulate their chromosome organization during cell division throughout normal, and disease states. Chromosomes are packaged DNA structures that consist of an individual’s genetic information. During cell division, chromosomes will duplicate, and divide equally among two daughter cells. Abnormalities that occur during cell division in humans can lead to detrimental consequences, and disease.

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