Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Image: Ripples on water

SF State's bayside marine and estuarine research facility.

RTC News


RTC scientists and students to share research at national biology conference January 4-7

A wide range of biologists including tenured faculty, postdoctoral researchers, research technicians, PhD and Master's students, and undergraduate researchers from three different specialty labs at Romberg Tiburon Center are kicking off the new year by presenting their research at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology 2017 Meeting this weekend in New Orleans. 1/3/17


Restoring seagrass under siege

Seagrasses are disappearing at rates that rival those of coral reefs and tropical rainforests, losing as much as seven percent of their area each year. Replanting success rates have been unpredictable — but scientists are making new advances that could change that., 1/2/17


Oysters and eelgrass, unlikely heroes in the fight against rising seas

Living Shorelines Project shows species such as sea hares, eelgrass and even oysters shield the shore from erosion. Richmond Confidential, 12/8/16

Expert discusses causes of, solutions to overfishing during Romberg talk

Could the high seas become a “fish bank,” a place where the world’s fish can go to recover from the ravages of overfishing? The fish in our oceans are vital to the world’s population, feeding and providing livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people, Rashid Sumaila, a professor of fishery economics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said during a recent talk at the Romberg
Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. The Ark, 11/30/16


Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies works to ensure healthy coastal ecosystems-Pacific Sun Education Issue

For students and scientists learning about and researching the condition of the ocean and its coasts, it’s hard to imagine a more scenic location than the one awaiting scholars and teachers at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. David Templeton, Pacific Sun, 11/9/2016


NSF-funded program will prepare students to protect urban coasts

As the only marine laboratory located on San Francisco Bay, the Romberg Tiburon Center has long played an important role in studying coastal and estuarine ecosystems. Now, the Center will launch a new graduate program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), that will prepare San Francisco State University students to help these regions adapt to global changes such as climate change, sea level rise and ecosystem shifts. SF State News, 10/19/16


Ocean conditions contributed to unprecedented 2015 toxic algal bloom

Senior Research Scientist Dr. William Cochlan is a co-author with researchers at the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on a new study that connects the unprecedented West Coast toxic algal bloom of 2015 to unusually warm ocean conditions — nicknamed “the blob” — earlier that year. "Previous laboratory studies by co-author William Cochlan of San Francisco State University showed that P. australis can take up nitrogen very quickly from a variety of sources, and appear to outcompete other, nontoxic phytoplankton in nutrient-depleted warm water. For the new study, Cochlan’s lab performed experiments with P. australis from the 2015 bloom. They showed that when these cells experience warmer temperatures and get more nutrients they can double or triple their cell division rates, allowing them to potentially bloom into a large population fairly quickly at sea." UW Today, 9/29/16


Secrets of sandy beaches revealed

The Ocean Science Trust has released a Sandy Beach Snapshot Report, one in a series of such reports on the South Coast Marine Protected Area (MPA) that highlights key scientific findings from monitoring conducted during the baseline period (2012-2017). Each Snapshot Report is a widely accessible translation of technical reports. The Sandy Beach report was created in part by RTC Director Karina Nielsen, expert in sandy beach ecology. 9/28/16


It's National Estuaries Week!

Our friends San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve reminded us that this week is National Estuaries Week! View photo contest winners and find ways to celebrate at the National Estuaries Week website. On social media, look for and use #EstuariesWeek and #EstuaryLove for photos and more. 9/19/16



SF State is first West Coast institution to join global partnership to monitor marine ecosystems

Researchers at San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center (RTC) for Environmental Studies have joined a global partnership, led by the Smithsonian Institution, aimed at better understanding the world’s marine ecosystems and how they may be affected by climate change. Jonathan Morales, SF State News, 9/13/16


California’s summer of slime: Algae blooms muck up waterways across state

"California waterways are exploding with potentially toxic algae blooms, another fallout from the prolonged drought." Once again, harmful algal bloom (HAB) expert Dr. Bill Cochlan is consulted on the phenomenon, which he attributes in part to excess nutrients accumulated in the drought and washed into waterways with last winter's rains. Ryan Sabalow, The Sacramento Bee, 8/12/16


Latest algae bloom, in Discovery Bay, threatens way of life

Harmful algal bloom (HAB) expert Dr. William Cochlan is quoted in this SF Chronicle story: “The frequency and duration of these algal blooms seems to be increasing,” said William Cochlan, a senior research scientist at San Francisco State University, while noting a trend that’s occurred for at least a decade. “Some of these are just natural events, and some may be exacerbated by human activities.” Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/27/16


Romberg partners with Smithsonian in global coastal research network (pdf, 981kb)

Scientists at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies are joining a global initiative, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution, to study marine life in shallow water environments like Richardson Bay, where people and marine life most often come into contact. Gretchen Lang, The Ark Newspaper, 7/20/16


An Emissary from a Forgotten Past, Thriving in an Unlikely Home

Dr. Kathy Boyer and her students are working with ecologist Peter Baye on restoration of a rare coastal plant in SF Bay, which could be a sweet spot for restoration and conservation of entire ecosystems, and sea level rise adaption. “It was just this light bulb,” Boyer says. “It would be such an attractive way to go forward, trying to introduce a rare species but thinking about it from a much broader community or ecosystem level.” Eric Simons, Bay Nature, 7/19/16


Build waterfront park, not homes, at Point Molate

Journalist and author David Helvarg mentions Romberg Tiburon Center's interest in continuing to study and do restoration work in the healthy eelgrass bed at Point Molate in this Opinion piece about proposed development. San Francisco Chronicle, 7/18/16


Miles of Algae and a Multitude of Hazards

RTC Senior Research Scientist and harmful algal bloom expert Dr. William Cochlan is part of this New York Times Science article on the recent bloom in Florida and others around the world. The New York Times, 7/18/16



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