About the Lab

Thank you for visiting MLML’s Geological Oceanography web site.

If you are a interested in our program, the next few paragraphs will offer brief descriptions of faculty, students and education and research activity in the Geology lab at MLML.

The lab is directed by Ivano Aiello, Associate Professor of Geological Oceanography at San Jose State University. At MLML, Ivano teaches several graduate courses on different topics and methodologies concerning Marine Geology and cross-disciplinary fields in marine sciences.

Ivano  advises several graduate students whose Master projects include a variety of field based marine and coastal geological studies.

The lab is multidisciplinary is the sense that students combine to different degrees geology with a variety of other disciplines in marine sciences (e.g. marine ecology, biology).

Ivano research has also a general interdisciplinary approach:

  • Sedimentology/paleoceanography of  upwelling biogenic sediments in Europe and the Pacific Rim (e.g. Monterey Fmt.), eastern equatorial Pacific and Peru Margin (ODP Leg 201), the sub-Arctic (IODP Expedition 323 in the Bering Sea).
  • Relationships between geology and microbial activity in deeply buried marine sediments recovered by IODP;
  • Geologic/geomorphology of central California rapidly changing costal environments including Elkhorn Slough, beaches and sea cliffs of Monterey Bay. Use of terrestrial laser scanning and 3D data analysis to asses small-scale geomorphologic change.

MLML’s Geological Oceanography Lab research equipment allows the conduct a large range of laboratory-based, and marine- and field-based analyses.

For further information about the Geological Oceanography Lab at MLML and for potential students feel free to contact me (iaiello@mlml.calstate.edu). Links to specific subjects can be found either in the text or on top of the page.

During the last few years, Dr. Aiello’s Geological Oceanography lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories have been leading sedimentologic research on core sediments of different compositions and ages collected in a variety of oceanic areas. The research has been successfully founded by different granting agencies including NSF (National Science Foundation) and the ACS (American Chemical Society). These grants supported the acquisition of state of the art tools for sedimentology analyses including:


Beckman Coulter Laser Particle Sizer LS1230: this is an instrument that allows accurate analyses of a very large range of particle sizes (between 2mm and 0.04µm). Analyses can be performed on both dry and wet sediment since the instrument is equipped with both a vacuum-based dry module and a liquid module. Its proprietary software archives grain size data and performs many statistical analyses that can be obtained while running the sample.




Hitachi Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) with INCA Energy 250 energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX): The instrument is a modern low-vacuum Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX). This instrument functions as a fundamental component of the modern microanalysis of biological (e.g. skeletal structures and otoliths) and geological (e.g. sediments and rocks) material as well as other structural materials.

Leica Petrographic Microscopes

Trimble VX Spatial Station: This is a sophisticated, state-of-the-art ground-based robotic infrared laser scanner equipped with a high-resolution digital camera (link photo/figure). The machine (a Trimble VX Spatial Station) is composed of an infrared laser unit capable of Direct Reflex (DR) technology (no target required), a direct drive system with robotic servo-mechanisms and a built-in digital camera. The instrument is operated via radio-link by a controller unit, can acquire accurate (<3 mm), multiple (15 points/s) spatial data (point clouds).



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  1. Pingback: Exploring the beach: A gateway to science | The Drop-In Blog @ Moss Landing Marine Labs

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