Los Farallones

Dispatches from Point Blue’s field station on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge

2016-17 SEFI Winter Crew Introductions

Greetings from the Farallon Islands. We’ve been dodging raindrops since our arrival but the last few days have been pure sunshine and we’ve been trying to soak up the rays as much as possible. No pregnant female elephants seals have arrived to the island as of yet but we are hopeful the sunshine will start bringing them in. We have roughly 3-5 sub-adult class 3 males hanging around setting up territories waiting for their cows to arrive. Below are introductions to this year’s field crew. Enjoy!
Winter Farallon Program Biologist, Ryan Berger’s Point Blue bio can be viewed here:
Alessandra Moyer
Alessandra has been interning in the Point Blue marine lab since January 2016, and will be on the island for two weeks collecting sea lion scat samples, which will be analyzed in the lab. She completed her bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley in 2015, majoring in Integrative Biology, with a concentration on evolution and ecology. For her thesis, she studied the growth rates of post-fire ascomycetes, group of highly charismatic fungi that colonize recently burnt ground. She was also a “tuco-tuco wrangler” at Berkeley, helping to care for a colony of captive tuco-tucos (basically just exotic guinea pigs with an irrepressible hatred of humans). She is excited to start her master’s degree at San Francisco State University in 2017, where she will be working with Dr. Vance Vredenburg to study the Farallon arboreal salamander in conjunction with Point Blue.
Marjorie Cox
Marjorie earned a B.F.A in textile design from The Academy of Art in San Francisco. After a move to New York City, and utilizing her degree in the fashion industry, she soon realized pursuing a life of environmental conservation was where she belonged.  Marjorie moved back to California, and made her home in the town of Bolinas. With plans to apply to a graduate biology program, she began taking science and math courses, and seeking out as much field works as possible. Marjorie has been volunteering for the Point Reyes National Seashore for the past year and a half, surveying harbor seal and elephant seal populations. Last spring Marjorie began volunteering at California Academy of Sciences in the mammalogy department, cleaning marine mammal skulls for the collections, compiling data on dead marine mammals on Marin county beaches, and participating in field necropsies. When not walking beaches looking for marine mammals, Marjorie enjoys horseback riding, getting in the ocean, and eating snacks with a book in hand. She is super excited to get to know the elephant seal population, and all the other creatures on the Farallons this winter!
Sarah Guitart
Sarah currently resides in Boston, where she earned her B.A. in Marine Science at Boston University. After graduating, she volunteered for several years with Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary’s seabird monitoring program and then landed her first field work job working with Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge on one of their Common tern colonies. Earlier this year, Sarah interned for the summer seabird season on the Farallones and made the decision to become absorbed into the island itself. While her primary focus is on seabirds, Sarah cannot wait to return to the island and work with the elephant seals!
Kris Lannin Liang
Kris is part of a close-knit team of volunteers that retrieve and transport sick, starving and injured animals for The Marine Mammal Center.  She rehabilitates seals and sea lions at the hospital on Thursday Day Crew, and shares her passion and love for pinnipeds with the public as a docent at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and Año Nuevo State Park.  She is looking forward to living and working on SEFI this coming winter season and to expanding her experience with marine mammals.
Ross Nichols
Ross received a B.S. in Marine Biology from UC, Santa Cruz and has been working with pinnipeds for the last 4 years. He became involved with the pinniped sensory and cognition laboratory at UCSC, where he worked as a research assistant involved primarily with the training and husbandry of the marine mammals at the facility. Ross interned the 2015-2016 Winter season for Point Blue, monitoring the Northern elephant seals on SEFI during their breeding season. Ross just returned from French Frigate Shoals, an atoll consisting of 8 islets in the Northwestern Hawaiian island chain, monitoring the Hawaiian Monk seals over their breeding season. He is looking forward to being back on SEFI, and couldn’t be more thrilled to count some seals, salamanders, and seabirds.
Check back soon for the next installation!