Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Image: Ripples on water

SF State's bayside marine and estuarine research facility.

RTC News


Federal relief may soon be on way for California Dungeness crab fisherman

ABC7's Wayne Freedman talks to Dr. Bill Cochlan about the need for research.



Oyster work continues off San Rafael's shores (pdf, 199kb)

“It has not been a good year for eelgrass,” said Kathy Boyer, lead eelgrass researcher with San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center. “It seems to have eroded away within the oyster reefs. The warmer temperatures in the bay is probably a cause. But all this work does help us better understand the restoration of eelgrass.” Mark Prado, Marin Independent Journal, November 27, 2015


Tiburon Salmon Institute ordered to leave Romberg by September (pdf, 773kb)

"The Tiburon Salmon Institute, the salmon-rearing and education program behind the popular annual Kiss & Release event at Blackie’s Pasture, is looking for a new home after talks broke down between its director, Brooke Halsey, and San Francisco State University."

Mission clash: salmon releases 'not good science,' Romberg director asserts (pdf, 1MB)

" a document obtained by The Ark as part of a California Public Records Act request, Karina Nielsen, director of the Romberg Tiburon Center of Environmental Studies, says telling kids that releasing salmon into the bay is helping wild salmon populations is 'like telling kids unicorns and mermaids are real.' "

Documents: Romberg's conflicts with salmon institute pre-date new director (pdf, 757kb)

"Brooke Halsey dates his troubles at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies to 2014, when current director Karina Nielsen arrived. But long before Halsey went head to head with Nielsen, her predecessor, Newell “Toby” Garfield, recognized the need to regulate the Tiburon Salmon Institute for safety and liability reasons."

Gretchen Lang, The Ark, November 25, 2015


California Lifts Fishing Ban On Certain Shellfish After Fewer Toxins Found

Toxic algae expert Dr. Bill Cochlan interviewed at RTC--“We’re moving in the right direction. But I wouldn’t plan your meal around crabs,” Cochlan said. KPIX news, November 19, 2015


Romberg scientists study algae behind crab’s shutdown

"Scientists at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies are trying to uncover the root cause of the toxic algae bloom that has shut down the West Coast crab fishery and poisoned marine mammals up and down the coast, but their vital research may come to an abrupt halt if they don't receive more funding." Gretchen Lang, The Ark, November 18, 2015


What's a 'toxic algal bloom'? SF State expert explains

A "toxic algal bloom" is the result of the rapid growth of an algal species that produces a biotoxin or phycotoxin, says William Cochlan, a senior research scientist at the Romberg Tiburon Center and a research professor of biology at San Francisco State University who has extensively researched harmful marine algae, including the primary species behind the current bloom, Pseudo-nitzchia australis. Jonathon Morales, SF State News, November 17, 2015


RTC Director Karina Nielsen on KZYX Mendocino public radio

Dr. Nielsen, RTC Director and Professor of Biology at SF State, discusses California Marine Protected Areas, ocean warming, and the current situation with toxic algae and the Dungeness crab fishery with host Cal Winslow. Listen to the in depth interview here (mp3, 27MB). KZYK, November 13, 2015


Toxin Spread That Delayed Crab Season Shines Light on Mysterious Algae

"The delay in opening California’s crab fisheries because of a toxin called domoic acid has made headlines lately. But for marine biologists, alarm over the summertime growth of Pseudo-nitzschia, the single-celled algae producing the toxin, started long ago." As reported on San Francisco Public Press, November 11, 2015


From Mexico to Alaska, wasting disease kills off sea star populations

The Ark newspaper covered last week's Rosenberg Institute Public Forum, "The Sea Star Epidemic: An Arms Race for Marine Biodiversity," presented by Dr. Drew Harvell of Cornell University. "She urged citizens to keep supporting environmental legislation, marine research and research stations like the Romberg Tiburon Center. 'Your involvement in this incredible marine lab …that’s right here in your community — I think that’s one of the most important things,' she said." Gretchen Lang, The Ark, November 11, 2015


‘Unprecedented’ Toxin Spread That Delayed Crab Season Shines Light on Mysterious Algae

"The delay in opening California’s crab fisheries because of a toxin called domoic acid has made headlines lately. But for marine biologists, alarm over the summertime growth of Pseudo-nitzschia, the single-celled algae producing the toxin, started long ago." Graelyn Brashear,, November 11, 2015


Toxic Dungeness crabs inspire climate change action

"A toxic bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia phytoplankton has doomed crab season...But climate change may be too simple an explanation for this year’s toxic crabs, said Dr. William Cochlan of San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center. He told me Pseudo-nitzschia regularly grows in the Pacific Ocean, although not at the scope and toxicity he’s seen this year. He also reminded me the Pacific Ocean has regular El Nino seasons with warmer-than-usual water. If warm oceans were the only reason we aren’t stuffing our faces with local Dungeness crabs, toxic blooms would have contaminated our crabs before." Robyn Purchia, San Francisco Examiner, November 11, 2015


See the Marine Lab where Scientist study the Plankton that has stopped a $60 million dollar industry

Behind the scenes look in the Marine Laboratory where Scientist study the Plankton that has stopped a $60 million dollar industry. It's called Pseudo-Nitzschia and it produces Domoic Acid. Don Ford, KPIX News, November 10, 2015



"By now, we know that the Dungeness crab season has been delayed and we know the reason a toxic acid produced by algae in warmer, El Nino waters. One of the world's foremost experts on algae blooms is in Tiburon." Wayne Freedman, ABC7 News Bay Area, November 9, 2015


Marin starfish population under attack by widespread wasting disease

"Starfish in Marin are dying at an alarming rate, and researchers at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies are trying to understand why." Marin Independent Journal, November 8, 2015, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Woodland Daily Democrat, November 9, 2015


A California crab ban reveals trouble in the Pacific Ocean

Crab fishing is delayed, and poisoned sea lions are washing ashore, with a toxic algae to blame. Azure Gilman, Al Jazeera America, November 6, 2015


Scientists suggest that extreme weather events are consequence of human-caused climate change

"On Thursday, scientists from the government informed that 2014’s extreme weather events — like last year’s wildfires in California and the cyclones in Hawaii — were worsened by the pollution and its consequential climate change." Quotes CBS Evening News story with Dr. Sarah Cohen. Pulse Headlines, November 5, 2015


CBS Evening News Blames Thursday’s Severe Weather on Global Warming

"Thursday’s CBS Evening News led with the severe weather threatening those in the Midwest, but in addition to looking at the storm track and damage thus far, the storms were hyped as a consequence of global warming." MRC Newsbusters, November 5, 2015


Human-caused climate change exacerbates extreme weather

"It's unbelievably warm. We have never had a warming event like this -- the extent of it, the different contributing factors, and how this going to play out this season leads scientists to have huge concerns," said Sarah Cohen who is a marine biologist at San Francisco State University. CBS News, November 5, 2015


Crab season pinched by toxic algal bloom

Dr. Bill Cochlan is interviewed for this story: "A rare convergence of environmental factors — global warming, the effects of El Niño and a mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean known as “The Blob” — has combined to produce one of the largest toxic algal blooms on record and a seasonal crop of dungeness and rock crab that state health officials say is unsafe to eat." San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2015


Marine biology class learns from West Coast waters

On a bright afternoon with a clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge, students traversed rocks looking for crabs, seaweed and other ocean life. Golden Gate Xpress, Issue 10, Volume CI. October 28, 2015


San Francisco Bay: Race to build wetlands is needed to stave off sea-level rise, scientists say

RTC scientists Kathy Boyer and Wim Kimmerer, alumni Whitney Thornton and Brian Ort, SERC's Chela Zabin make major contributions to the 2015 Science Update for the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Project, covered by the San Jose Mercury News: "San Francisco Bay is in a race against time, with billions of dollars of highways, airports, homes and office buildings at risk from rising seas, surging tides and extreme storms driven by climate change." San Jose Mercury News, October 18, 2015



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