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New institute offers undergrad program in marine sciences

Narrator:       This is Science Today. A new Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute will be established by the University of California, Davis, and will offer a new undergraduate program in marine sciences and take advantage of the campus's coastal Bodega Marine Laboratory. There, researchers like Eric Sanford are studying the effects of climate change on certain marine ecosystems. Sanford studies the ochre sea star, which feeds on mussels along the coast.

Sanford:         So, through its effects on these mussels, this sea star can play a keystone role because it can change the way the whole rocky coast system looks and how it functions through its predation on these mussels. So, we're interested in how warming temperatures associated with climate change might affect the interaction between the sea star and mussels that it feeds on.

Narrator:       By close observation at the Bodega Marine Lab, Sanford found that just a few degrees of warming stresses sea stars out.

Sanford:         They eat fewer mussels and because of the important role that these mussels play in the community, it could really change the way this whole community functions.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.