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Linking Land and Sea

The Big Sur coastline is a topic in many coastal issue discussions; courtesy D. Reineman

Stanford’s student–led chapter of The Coastal Society (TCS), a national organization dedicated to “actively addressing emerging coastal issues by fostering dialogue, forging partnerships, and promoting communication and education,” rallies students and faculty around issues of critical importance to coastal environments. Launched by Austin Becker (PhD 4th) in 2009, Stanford’s TCS chapter has grown through collaboration with other oceans-oriented students like Dan Reineman (PhD 2nd). This year TCS leadership was passed on to co-presidents Aaron Strong (PhD 1st) and Lida Teneva (EESS PhD 4th). Though they study different problems, these student leaders share an interest in natural and human interactions at the land-sea interface and are dedicated to building an interdisciplinary scholarly community.

TCS hosted Shark Week: The True Story in February, focusing on California’s recent passage of legislation banning the importation and sale of shark fins. Shark Week brought together marine experts, filmmakers, state legislators, and Stanford students and faculty to dive into the science behind the decline of sharks and other top predators and management approaches to reducing demand for shark fins. Professor Barbara Block (Biology and Hopkins Marine Station) presented her work tracking shark travels around the globe, showing sharks around - and in - the San Francisco Bay as part of the Tagging of Pacific Predators project.

Last fall, TCS hosted photographer John Weiler and fish biologist Cassandra Brooks (incoming E-IPER PhD) who presented their work on efforts to document, discuss, and advocate for the protection of the Ross Sea, a deep bay of the Southern Ocean in Antarctica and one of the last virtually untouched marine ecosystems in the world.

Wondering about the sustainability of that tuna fish sandwich from Coupa Café or that sushi you had last night? In May, with the support of a Mel Lane Student Grant from the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, TCS is sponsoring a speaker series to raise awareness and discuss the scientific and nuanced details about sustainable seafood options on campus. Want to experience the coastal environment firsthand? Join a TCS-sponsored beach cleanup or tide-pooling adventure and help foster an active and engaged oceans and coasts-oriented community at Stanford.