just slough it.
 

The Slough Crew

muddy, motivated marine-minds

*graduated, **high school, ***citizen scientist

 

Kat Beheshti, PhD Candidate

Lead Researcher

UC Santa Cruz

My own rambling...

I am living my dream job. I get to play outside, be surrounded by nature every day. I get to jump in the ocean and swim through seagrass meadows or sludge through the mud of the salt marshes. I observe nature, generate testable questions and then execute a plan to try and answer those same questions.

I love everything about the Slough. The harbor seals are definitely the ones that I laugh at the most. They are, in my opinion, the most charismatic of the megafauna (big animals) found in the slough. The sea otter mom and pup pairs are also absolutely adorable. When the mom dives down on a foraging dive (to grab some yummy clam or crabs for her and baby) the pup will often cry and call for "mom". When mom surfaces, pup swims over and immediately steals/gets handed the food she just got. Really young sea otter pups are too buoyant to dive down with mom. Watching them try to dive down and follow mom down is also one of my favorite things to watch. Imagine a little toddler wearing Elmo floaties trying to dive down and pick up one of those fun pool rings...they can't do it! And its entertaining to watch, same with buoyant sea otter pups. But by far my favorite animals in the slough are my study animal, Pachygrapsus crassipes (native, lined shore crab) and Phyllaplysia taylori (Taylors sea hare).

These are a few of the many reasons that I started working in the Slough in 2013.


Annakate Clemons

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2014-2018)

My favorite slough animal  is the iridescent green sea slugs we find on the shoots of eelgrass!  I have been working since in the slough since  January 2018    Best part about the slough is  the diversity of wildlife! There’s always so much to see: sea birds, otters, harbor seals, sea lions, moon jellies (so cool when they drift in!!!), fish, crabs, nudibranchs, and on special days Kat’s dog :) I also love being in the water here—essentially gardening underwater while doing restorations—and I love the surface experience of getting yanked out of deep mud by the team while out working on cages.   My dream career is  to work with people and the ocean; to feel part of a team; to keep learning and be stimulated with my work; and most important of all is to work outside!

My favorite slough animal is the iridescent green sea slugs we find on the shoots of eelgrass!

I have been working since in the slough since January 2018

Best part about the slough is the diversity of wildlife! There’s always so much to see: sea birds, otters, harbor seals, sea lions, moon jellies (so cool when they drift in!!!), fish, crabs, nudibranchs, and on special days Kat’s dog :) I also love being in the water here—essentially gardening underwater while doing restorations—and I love the surface experience of getting yanked out of deep mud by the team while out working on cages.

My dream career is to work with people and the ocean; to feel part of a team; to keep learning and be stimulated with my work; and most important of all is to work outside!

 

Mason Emery

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2014-2018)

Where is Mason now? He is at CSU Fullerton working on a Masters!

My favorite slough animal  has to be the giant sheep crabs we've been finding in the restoration plots  I have been working with Kat in the slough since  December 2017    Best part about the slough  is first off the shear isolation you experience from all he background noise of the city like a mini vacation and of course that complimented with the slough mud smell (only those who've smelled it will understand). But the part that really takes the cake is when the sediment settles underwater and you can finally see again.   My dream Career  is one where it feels more like recess than a job; one where I can be a perpetual student while making a difference by studying the relationships between animals and their environment. And of course one where I'll spend more time wet than dry, essentially I want to become a marine mammal.

My favorite slough animal has to be the giant sheep crabs we've been finding in the restoration plots

I have been working with Kat in the slough since December 2017

Best part about the slough is first off the shear isolation you experience from all he background noise of the city like a mini vacation and of course that complimented with the slough mud smell (only those who've smelled it will understand). But the part that really takes the cake is when the sediment settles underwater and you can finally see again.

My dream Career is one where it feels more like recess than a job; one where I can be a perpetual student while making a difference by studying the relationships between animals and their environment. And of course one where I'll spend more time wet than dry, essentially I want to become a marine mammal.


Leo Hijikata*

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2014-2016)

A few words from Leo...

My dream career... would be the career that shapes me into a happy old person. It seems to me that my path to happiness will involve giving back to the community, maybe as an educator, or a science interpreter. But before I start giving, I think I need to first gain something to give, like personal experience. Wisdom would be nice too. So my first step is to live, eat, breathe as a marine biologist.

My favorite part of the slough. I love how timeless the slough it is. On a nice day, the distant hills have this peculiar golden haze, that makes me want to plop down with a warm cup of tea. Watching the birds, and the otters, and the seals take in the warm sun, its interesting how something so calm could be so distracting.

My favorite slough animal would have to be the sand pipers. I think the way they all zoom around on their little legs is adorable.

I have been working with Kat from 2014-2017.


Jenn Rudd

Antioch College* 

As cliche as it sounds  my dream career  would be to help others and give back to the communities that I'm a part of. While I don't have a specific career path nailed down, my research and experience has been pushing me towards alternative energies, food deserts and urban agriculture, and education.   I love the beauty of the slough!  Regardless of the weather, or what task we were doing, the slough was just a wonderful place to be in and always was something to look forward too. It's an incredible spot and there's so much to do and enjoy while there.   189% my favorite slough animal is the brown pelican.  I love seeing them glide over the water - it's truly magical to watch.  I only worked with Kat at the slough for about 3 months in the summer of 2017, but I loved every second there!

As cliche as it sounds my dream career would be to help others and give back to the communities that I'm a part of. While I don't have a specific career path nailed down, my research and experience has been pushing me towards alternative energies, food deserts and urban agriculture, and education.

I love the beauty of the slough! Regardless of the weather, or what task we were doing, the slough was just a wonderful place to be in and always was something to look forward too. It's an incredible spot and there's so much to do and enjoy while there.

189% my favorite slough animal is the brown pelican. I love seeing them glide over the water - it's truly magical to watch.

I only worked with Kat at the slough for about 3 months in the summer of 2017, but I loved every second there!


Alex Lapides

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate (Current; 2014-Present)

My  dream career  is to be a gis analyst or biogeographer in marine ecology.  My  favorite thing about the slough  is the diversity; I've been going out for 3 years and I still regularly see new things. It's really exciting heading out each day, not knowing what I'll discover.  My  favorite slough animals  are the sea nettles & I've been working with Kat since  2014 .

My dream career is to be a gis analyst or biogeographer in marine ecology.

My favorite thing about the slough is the diversity; I've been going out for 3 years and I still regularly see new things. It's really exciting heading out each day, not knowing what I'll discover.

My favorite slough animals are the sea nettles & I've been working with Kat since 2014.

Cecilia's thoughts...

Someday I hope to do something where I get to help a few animals live happier lives, whether it be taking care of them directly or teaching others to be conscious of their decisions that impact our environment and the animals that we share this earth with.

I love how consistently beautiful the slough is. No matter the weather or length of the day it's always so special to be out in the field.

The harbor seals in the slough are always so cute to see lounging their sausage bodies on shore and peeking out of the eelgrass beds. I began working in the Elkhorn slough during the summer of 2016

Cecilia Harris*

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2014-2016)


NICOLE DWYER*

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2011-2015)

Where is she now? Currently in Juneau, AK working as a Naturalist. 

Nicole’s thoughts on her time in the Slough… (the OG slough crew)    Choosing a  favorite slough animal  is like choosing a favorite child, but I have a very soft spot for Taylor’s Sea Hares also know as Phyllaplysia taylori. I just love the little slimy green things in life.  I started back in June 2013, so it would have been from June 2013-August 2015.  There are so many aspects of the slough that I loved, from the early sunrises to the feel of the mud on my skin. One of the most satisfying thing about the slough was  helping with a project that connected broader ecological impacts.  I loved learning about how truly connected different components of an ecosystem are, and how they rely on each other to create such a complex and beautiful place in nature.  When I was little  I wanted to be the next Steve Irwin , but as an adult I am still trying to figure itout. All of my options have two things in common: being outside, and being surrounded by sea life. Where ever I end up, I know I won’t mind getting dirty in the process.

Nicole’s thoughts on her time in the Slough… (the OG slough crew)

Choosing a favorite slough animal is like choosing a favorite child, but I have a very soft spot for Taylor’s Sea Hares also know as Phyllaplysia taylori. I just love the little slimy green things in life.

I started back in June 2013, so it would have been from June 2013-August 2015.

There are so many aspects of the slough that I loved, from the early sunrises to the feel of the mud on my skin. One of the most satisfying thing about the slough was helping with a project that connected broader ecological impacts. I loved learning about how truly connected different components of an ecosystem are, and how they rely on each other to create such a complex and beautiful place in nature.

When I was little I wanted to be the next Steve Irwin, but as an adult I am still trying to figure itout. All of my options have two things in common: being outside, and being surrounded by sea life. Where ever I end up, I know I won’t mind getting dirty in the process.

The going-ons with Lindsay...

I have been working with Kat in the Slough for about a year now (started in December 2016). I love taking the boat around and observing the different communities that persist there. From diving the sea grass beds, to excavating crabs in the marsh, the Slough is a guaranteed good time for scientists and visitors alike.

My favorite Slough animals are the clever Pachygrapsus crassipes (lined shore crabs).

And as for the future...I plan to attend graduate school and continue my involvement in marine ecology research

Lindsay Cullen

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate (Current; 2013-Present)


Haley Sutton*

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate* (2014-2018)

Haley’s thoughts…    Although you don't see them too often, my  FAVORITE favorite animal --in the slough or otherwise--is the  Mola mola  that will wander into the slough sometimes and pop their faces up to the water's surface.   I was working in the slough from  February 2018 until July 2018  as an undergraduate research intern.  My favorite part about the slough is how  simultaneously serene yet vibrant  it is as flora and fauna are tangled in a wild web of interactions. There's always something to focus on from any point of view. The slough is a really magical site to witness, and I'm lucky to have been able to study it.  My  dream career  is one that will make me incredibly content. I hope I can  combine ocean conservation with education and outreach . I'd love to work at the interface between land and sea, and help create consumable information for the public. And I definitely wouldn't mind finding a way to incorporate my love of science, art, and food into that career. 

Haley’s thoughts…

Although you don't see them too often, my FAVORITE favorite animal--in the slough or otherwise--is the Mola mola that will wander into the slough sometimes and pop their faces up to the water's surface. 

I was working in the slough from February 2018 until July 2018 as an undergraduate research intern.

My favorite part about the slough is how simultaneously serene yet vibrant it is as flora and fauna are tangled in a wild web of interactions. There's always something to focus on from any point of view. The slough is a really magical site to witness, and I'm lucky to have been able to study it.

My dream career is one that will make me incredibly content. I hope I can combine ocean conservation with education and outreach. I'd love to work at the interface between land and sea, and help create consumable information for the public. And I definitely wouldn't mind finding a way to incorporate my love of science, art, and food into that career. 

Comments from our youngest "sloughie"    My  dream career  is to be a National Geographic Photographer.  What do  I like most about the slough ? Everywhere you look there's wildlife and you don't get that in many places.  My  favorite slough animal  is one that comes and goes, the sea nettle jellies! We saw so many on our photography expedition of the slough!  I've been working with Kat in the Slough since Summer  2017 .  You can check out some of Jacqueline's AWEsome slough photos below! Take a visual tour of Elkhorn Slough!

Comments from our youngest "sloughie"

My dream career is to be a National Geographic Photographer.

What do I like most about the slough? Everywhere you look there's wildlife and you don't get that in many places.

My favorite slough animal is one that comes and goes, the sea nettle jellies! We saw so many on our photography expedition of the slough!

I've been working with Kat in the Slough since Summer 2017. You can check out some of Jacqueline's AWEsome slough photos below! Take a visual tour of Elkhorn Slough!

Jacqueline Schwartz**

Saratoga High School


Jezebel Powers

UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate

Local girl, Jezebel Powers shares…    My favorite slough animal is the  sea otter ! I love watching the mom and baby sea otter pairs drifting around the slough.  I have been working in the slough since  October 2017.   The best part of the slough is the  amount of opportunity  it provides. Whether you want to drift along under the bright sun, cozy up in the fog and spot new animals, or put in hard work by marching through the mud, the slough truly has something for everyone. Such a special ecosystem deserves protection!  My dream career would be one that utilizes ecological research to inspire conservation of marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. Ideally,  my office would be the ocean  and a typical day on the job would involve SCUBA diving or being on a boat!

Local girl, Jezebel Powers shares…

My favorite slough animal is the sea otter! I love watching the mom and baby sea otter pairs drifting around the slough.

I have been working in the slough since October 2017.

The best part of the slough is the amount of opportunity it provides. Whether you want to drift along under the bright sun, cozy up in the fog and spot new animals, or put in hard work by marching through the mud, the slough truly has something for everyone. Such a special ecosystem deserves protection!

My dream career would be one that utilizes ecological research to inspire conservation of marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. Ideally, my office would be the ocean and a typical day on the job would involve SCUBA diving or being on a boat!


Elkhorn Photoshoot:

Jacqueline D. Schwartz**

** Saratoga High School Senior, Summer Intern, Photographer


IMG_7483.JPG

Jacqueline D. Schwartz**

Certified Super-Star Explorer and Photographer.

 

National Geographic Student Expedition, Italy and Greece, Summer 2015

National Geographic Student Expedition, Switzerland and France, Summer 2016

Projects Abroad Archaeology Trip, Romania, Summer 2017

Internship at Long Marine Laboratory, Summer 2017

School Environmental Club, 2017

OMEGA Youth Council Member (NASA) 2015-Present