Listen: Marine Biologist Rachel Merz on "Anything but Stuck in the Mud: Tales of Soft- and Hard-Bodied Critters in a Famous Bay"
Earlier this spring, Professor of Marine Biology Rachel Merz delivered the lecture "Anything but Stuck in the Mud: Tales of Soft- and Hard-Bodied Critters in a Famous Bay." In the lecture, Merz takes the audience on a virtual tour of Washington state's False Bay, a famous research site for marine biologists, in order to appreciate the range of sedimentary landscapes found there and to explore their differing properties. Organisms that live in marine sediments gain protection and nutrition from the particulate world in which they live but at the same time can be limited by their ability to move within and upon this dense, gritty, shifting medium. Merz describes the research she and her students have been doing, studying the slimy, stretchy, crusty species that live in these sediments, how they go about doing their research, and what their collaborative work reveals about how organisms overcome the mechanical challenges of their landscapes.
Merz teaches courses in biology and environmental studies. Her lab examines ecological and evolutionary questions from a biomechanical perspective, borrowing theory and techniques from engineering and apply them to biological systems.