Radioles of a sabellid polychaete ( Parasabella  sp.)

Radioles of a sabellid polychaete (Parasabella sp.)

Introduced barnacle ( Amphibalanus subalbidus )

Introduced barnacle (Amphibalanus subalbidus)

Our lab is passionately interested in the biology of marine invertebrates. We teach several undergraduate courses that highlight the remarkable diversity of marine invertebrates found in northern California. In our free time, we can often be found exploring local shorelines during low tide, and our observations and discoveries of invertebrate diversity are often shared through Jackie Sones’ blog, The Natural History of Bodega Head. Some of these explorations invariably lead to research questions. As a result, we have a growing list of side projects in progress, including studies involving all of the species illustrated on this page. These studies are grounded in our appreciation for marine invertebrates and are ultimately aimed at better understanding the diversity, distribution, ecology, and life histories of these amazing animals.

Unidentifed sea anemone washed ashore in Bodega Bay on Japanese tsunami marine debris.

Unidentifed sea anemone washed ashore in Bodega Bay on Japanese tsunami marine debris.

Unidentified staurozoan ( Haliclystus  sp.) from Bodega Bay.

Unidentified staurozoan (Haliclystus sp.) from Bodega Bay.

Close-up of staurozoan tentacles.

Close-up of staurozoan tentacles.

Blister on the hydrocoral  Stylantheca papillosa  created by the Autolytinid polychaete  Procerea penetrans  (right).

Blister on the hydrocoral Stylantheca papillosa created by the Autolytinid polychaete Procerea penetrans (right).

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Recruitment of juvenile sea stars ( Pisaster ochraceus )

Recruitment of juvenile sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus)

Longevity of the barnacle  Semibalanus cariosus .

Longevity of the barnacle Semibalanus cariosus.

Purple Sea Snail ( Janthina umbilicata ) washed ashore in Bodega Bay in January 2016.

Purple Sea Snail (Janthina umbilicata) washed ashore in Bodega Bay in January 2016.

Selected Publications

Sanford, E., J.L. Sones, M. García-Reyes, J.H.R. Goddard, and J.L. Largier. 2019. Widespread shifts in the coastal biota of northern California during the 2014–2016 marine heatwaves.  Scientific Reports, doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40784-3 OPEN ACCESS

Agha, M., M.K. Riley, E. Sanford, J.T. Carlton, W.A. Newman, and B.D. Todd. 2018.  A review of epizoic barnacles reported from freshwater turtles, with a new record from California.  Herpetological Review 49(1): 25–28.


There is a long history of study of marine invertebrates in the Bodega Bay region, dating back to before the founding of Bodega Marine Laboratory by the invertebrate zoologists Drs. Cadet Hand and Ralph Smith. To celebrate this tradition during BML’s 50th Anniversary (2016), we produced the short video below — Fifty Years of Spineless Wonders. Enjoy!