Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Exploring the Critical Interface Between the Land and Monterey Bay: Elkhorn Slough

Knowledge of introductory biology and chemistry is recommended.

This seminar will be focused around Elkhorn Slough—a small, agriculturally impacted estuary that opens into Monterey Bay—as a model ecosystem for understanding the critical importance and complexity of estuaries. You will be exposed to the basics of biogeochemistry, microbiology, oceanography, ecology, pollution, and environmental management issues through presentations and interactive discussion. The seminar will include numerous field trips to various sites in the Slough, one of California's largest and last remaining coastal wetlands, and will emphasize material covered in Jane Caffrey's book Changes in a California Estuary: A Profile of Elkhorn Slough


Meet the Instructor(s)

Christopher Francis

Christopher Francis received his Ph.D. in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UC San Diego) before moving to Princeton University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow in microbial biology and geosciences. In 2003, Professor Francis joined the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and is now with the Department of Environmental Earth System Science, where his current research is centered on the molecular, biogeochemical, and ecological aspects of the microbial cycling of nitrogen and metals in the environment, with particular emphasis on coastal and estuarine systems, including Elkhorn Slough, San Francisco Bay, and Monterey Bay.