By Greg Watry
Morning fog hugs Horseshoe Cove, a wispy veil of gray masking the Pacific Ocean. As it rolls towards the beach by the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, students explore the cove’s tide pools. A sea star engages in a slow motion life-or-death battle with a mussel, a bright yellow nudibranch traverses a kelp blade and a quarter-sized crab scurries among wet rocks.
“We’re in a region with a Mediterranean climate and upwelling— what’s cool is that both of these are associated with high levels of biodiversity,” says Grace Ha, a graduate student in ecology. In upwelling zones, nutrient-rich waters from the deep ocean are transported to coastal regions, which makes them hotspots for biodiversity.