Science Lectures - 2017

Please join Point Reyes National Seashore staff for Science Lectures, 45 minute presentations on scientific research being performed at Point Reyes and elsewhere in the California. Science Lectures are sponsored by the Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center at Point Reyes National Seashore. They usually occur at noon on many Thursdays throughout the year and are normally held at the Red Barn Classroom at Point Reyes National Seashore's Headquarters. All are welcome and admission is free.

Visit our Science Lectures page to learn about upcoming lectures.

Some of our Brown Bag Lectures in 2017 included:

Water cascades down a short cliff from the left onto a wide sandy beach. Waves break on the right.

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Title: "Sea cliff retreat and coastal waterfalls in Point Reyes"
Presenter: Patrick Limber, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA
Summary: In California, nearly three-quarters of the coastline consists of eroding sea cliffs or bluffs. Cliff retreat often happens suddenly and without warning: wave impacts can undercut and destabilize sea cliffs, causing rapid collapse. Cliff collapse and retreat can be hazardous, but it also gives rise to spectacular coastal features such as sea stacks, arches, and coastal waterfalls.

In this talk, Patrick discussed: 1) historical and future cliff retreat hazards along the Point Reyes coastline; 2) the formation of erosional coastal features such as arches, caves, and sea stacks; and 3) how coastal waterfalls develop, like Alamere Falls in Point Reyes, and why they are uncommon geological features.

Two red mushrooms with white spots. © Debbie Viess.
Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria).

Date: Sunday, February 12, 2017
Event: Fungus Fair at Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitor Center
Summary: Fungi from the park was on display and experts were available to answer questions throughout the day. Three talks were offered in the Bear Valley Visitor Center Auditorium on Science and Ecology of Fungi.

  • 11 am "Truffles and Their Funky Friends" by Stephanie Jarvis
  • 12:30 pm "Introduction to Wild and Edible Mushrooms" by David Rust
  • 3 pm "Amanitarita's Freaky and Fabulous Fungi" by Debbie Viess


Eelgrass (a "seaweed") is visible below the water's surface. Vegetation covers the shoreline in the background.

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Title: "The Eelgrass Microbiome"
Presenter: Melissa Kardish, Ph.D. Candidate at UC Davis
Summary: Melissa Kardish will discuss the diversity of the bacterial communities on eelgrass. She is incorporating data on the diversity of these communities from around the world—including from samples in Tomales Bay—to look at patterns in these communities and how they vary with invertebrates, host plants, and environmental conditions. She is a graduate student at UC Davis working with the Seagrass Microbiome Project and the Zostera Experimental Network.

A purple flower with yellow and white patches on its banner surrounded by green leaflets.

Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Title: "The effects of invasive plants, habitat restoration, and climate variability on the endangered plant, Lupinus tidestromii"
Presenter: Prof. Tiffany Knight, Alexander von Humboldt Professorship of Spatial Interaction Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany


Date: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Title: "Parque Nacional Natural Munchique and the National Park Service in Colombia"
Presenter: Ana María Maya Girón, Park Biologist at Parque Nacional Natural Munchique
Location: Cordell Bank Conference Room

Several young elephant seals on a beach, with one of the seals looking directly at the camera.

Date: Thursday, October 12, 2017
Title: "High School Research Projects at Point Reyes"
Presenter: Michael R. Wing, Ph.D., Sir Francis Drake High School.
Summary: Teens are doing original—even published—work at the Seashore, including elephant seal monitoring, marine plastic debris surveys, and solving a historical/archaeological mystery.

Rainmaker Mountain, a green steep-walled mountain with a bay and buildings in the foreground.
Rainmaker Mountain in National Park of American Samoa.

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Title: "National Park of American Samoa - The Only NPS Unit South of the Equator"
Presenter: Daniel George - Acting Superintendent at National Park of American Samoa and Program Manager for the San Francisco Bay Area Network Inventory and Monitoring Program

Three men on a ship hoisting a yellow remotely operated vehicle from the ocean.
NOAA personnel on the Research Ship Nautilus hoisting the ROV Hercules from the ocean.

Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017
Title: "Research Ship Nautilus' Underwater Survey of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary"
Presenters: Dan Howard (NOAA) and Gary Williams (California Academy of Sciences)
More information:


For more information about the Brown Bag Lectures, contact Ben Becker at 415-464-5187 or by email.

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Last updated: January 27, 2019

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