Priya: Happy 50th Birthday to Bodega Marine Lab!

The 'Great Hall' and fish tanks, ready for the BML 50th celebration. Photo credit: T. Hill

The 'Great Hall' and fish tanks, ready for the BML 50th celebration. Photo credit: T. Hill

Bodega Marine Lab (BML) celebrated its 50th Anniversary during the weekend of September 16th-17th. Initially operated by UC Berkeley and then acquired by UC Davis, BML operations have grown significantly and allowed the lab to become a nexus of marine science and education. This is best evidenced by thousands of student reports within BML’s Cadet Hand Library that extend as far back as the 1930s when BML’s predecessor, the Foggy Bottom Laboratory, served as the marine field station in Bodega Bay. 

Sediment samples from BML Alumni Roy Enrico, from the local Estero Americano estuary. Samples were collected in 1969-70 as part of his thesis research. Environmental data associated with these samples can be found in Roy’s student report in the Cadet Hand Library! Photo credit: P. Shukla

Sediment samples from BML Alumni Roy Enrico, from the local Estero Americano estuary. Samples were collected in 1969-70 as part of his thesis research. Environmental data associated with these samples can be found in Roy’s student report in the Cadet Hand Library! Photo credit: P. Shukla

The two-day celebration was indeed a testament to the impact BML has had on individual people as well as the fields of coastal and marine science. Each lab opened its doors to share their ongoing research, while hundreds of alumni, faculty and supporters from around the country reveled in decades-old projects and shenanigans that occurred within those same walls. 

Whether it was a six-week summer course as an undergraduate student or a six-year PhD program, each anecdote was coated with immense reverence for the hallowed halls of BML. Although not every person who came through BML pursued a career in marine science, it was clear that their experiences did not occur within a vacuum and have permeated through their lives. As one of the many undergraduate students transformed by a summer at BML, I am lucky to be among the few to continue studying marine science, and among the even fewer to return to BML in that pursuit as the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR) technician. With 50 years of ground-breaking science paving the way for multitudes of students like myself, I am excited to give back to this community of giants upon whose shoulders so many marine scientists stand.

~Priya Shukla, October 2016