SUPERCOLLIDER is proud to host a SciArt Research Trip with the Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS), a multi-day trip based in the Channel Islands National Park. Selected artists are invited to undergo field research and create artworks inspired by the local ecology. 

The SciArt Research Trip promotes conservation and collective accountability on a mission to protect and restore the natural environment. Artists and scientists are encouraged to reconnect with nature and learn about the research endeavors taking place on the island.

The Santa Rosa Island Research Station and its community seeks to address management challenges from multiple perspectives that will enable energetic, well-rounded, and successful responses to our changing natural and human landscapes. Application closed.

The SUPERCOLLIDER x Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS) research trip took place April 15 – 18th, 2022.  This experience consists of 4 weekly check-ins (including meetings with artists, scientists, and organization directors); a tour of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station;  field research on land and at sea; collection of marine debris for art making; display of final projects/artworks online with consideration for exhibition.

A small team of artist and scientists hiked the perimeter of the island, spotted migrating grey whales, learned from researchers at the research station, snorkeled and even witnessed a SpaceX rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base at sunrise. Artists and scientists captured sound recordings of the local biophony and captured photos and videos for content collection.

 The artists and scientists we invited to work on independent projects or collaborate with one another.  They also learned more about the island initiatives and research with Russell Bradley, a Bay Area marine biologist, who serves as the Director of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station. We are so inspired by the collaboration, collective thinking, and ingenuity of our resident artist and scientists.

Emma Akmakdjian, our Field Study Program Manager, is the creator of the week-long field study program at the Santa Rosa Island Research Station between artists from our community, CSUCI (California State University Channel Islands) interdisciplinary faculty, and students.  


Richelle Ellis

Steven Beuder

Russell Bradley

Iman Person

Alvaro Azcarraga

Emma Akmakdjian

Sasha Fishman


Steven Beuder

Biochemist and Molecular Biologist Steven Beuder explored the kelp at the Santa Rosa Island. The life cycle of Macrocystis pyrifera (Giant Kelp, a brown alga) alternates between a giant sporophyte and microscopic gametophytes. Gametophytes are haploid and sexually dimorphic; they produce either “female” or “male” gametes, depending on whether they contain a U or V chromosome, respectively. Sexual reproduction results in diploid sporophytes, which contain both U and V chromosomes and lack  sexual dimorphism.  

Brown algae evolved independently of plants, but the two groups share common traits including photosynthesis and a cell wall; brown algal cell walls are composed primarily of carbohydrates including alginate and fucoidans, but also contain cellulose- the main component of most plant cell walls. Using a fluorescent microscope, we can observe the cellulose in the cell wall (via a fluorescent stain) and the naturally-occurring autofluorescence emitted from the chlorophyll of the plastids. 

Emma Akmakdjian

Artist Emma Akmakdjian collaborated with molecular biologist and biochemist, Steven Beuder to record protein sequences of giant kelp to compare kelp’s heat tolerance to climate change with location. Samples were collected from southern CA and Peru, resulting in an interactive multimedia installation featuring video and audio recordings collected from the Santa Rosa Island.  Viewers are invited to interact with the sculptural installation, implying how humans impact marine ecology through interference and temperature changes in the ocean due to climate change.

Additional research for this project was courtesy of USC molecular and computational bio lab, UCLA molecular and cell development lab, and NCBI.