Too Good to Be True?
Date: 12/01/12 10:30 am - 12/01/12 6:00 pm
Location: Pepperdine University

Too Good to Be True? How Mussels Turn the 'Best' Habitat into the Most Dangerous for their Own Survival

Presenters: Dr. Patti Halpin, University of California, Los Angeles and Dr. Carlos Robles, California State University, Los Angeles

What makes the difference between a large catastrophe and a small one? Scientists have long been puzzled at how the same physical stresses can produce very different outcomes in ecosystems. Research now indicates that the ecosystem itself plays a large role in the response to a potentially damaging environment. On rocky coasts, storm waves are capable of ripping out large swathes of the mussel bed, effectively removing the entire habitat for many intertidal species. We'll discuss how interactions between the mussels themselves, shoreline predators, and mussel condition help determine whether a mussel bed survives the winter unscathed.

  • Along with the science presentations, you will be learning hands-on, inquiry-based, multi-disciplinary classroom activities correlated with CA Standards provided by grade level bands.
  • Dr. Karen Martin of Pepperdine will show her new HOT off the press award winning documentary “Surf, Sand and Silversides: The Californian Grunion”.
  • We will spend the rest of the day out of the classroom, in the FIELD. We will go to a local intertidal zone where Drs. Robles and Halpin will lead us in field surveying until the sun goes down!
  • All participants will receive a resource packet including all activities and online resources.

Please register by November 26, 2012 to receive an educator stipend and lunch1 by contacting or 310-206-8247. Provide your full name, grade level(s) you teach, and your email and phone number. K-12 teachers may get documentation for Professional Development hours upon request.

1Generously provided by a grant from the Boeing Company to USC for COSEE-West.

Contact Name: COSEE-West
Contact Phone: (310) 206-8247
Contact Email:

Return to Archived Event List