The spirit of inquiry at UC Santa Cruz

Welcome to the 8th edition of inquiry@UC Santa Cruz, the latest volume of our annual magazine highlighting the wide range of outstanding research performed across the university’s five academic divisions. As in previous issues, the stories we offer here were crafted by alumni of our world-renowned Science Communication Master’s Program (see INQUIRING minds).

Their writing this year invites you to: dive into the lives of outwardly fierce—but actually quite shy—moray eels; peer over the shoulders of genomic sleuths using cutting-edge technology to answer difficult questions about the ancient—and recent—past; stand with fearless women filmmakers whose award-winning work aims to challenge—and change—the world; fly with researchers piloting drones to help monitor and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change; and dig into innovations like the mud battery, a fuel cell powered by the millions of microbes in the dirt beneath our feet. In our cover story, “Down on the farm”, we take you on a tour of the bountiful campus farm and garden, the heart of the UCSC Center for Agroecology, where faculty and students are tackling the tough issues of agricultural sustainability and food security. Quite uniquely among academic institutions, the farm supplies much of the fresh produce offered by the university’s food services, including the ingredients “Sally,” the Cowell Coffee Shop’s salad-making robot, chops to help make kale a regular part of the UCSC undergraduate diet.

All this and more—including a sampling of the latest books authored by our faculty (PEN & INQ)—awaits you in these pages.

We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we enjoy bringing them to you.

John McMillan,
Vice Chancellor for Research and
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

University of California Santa Cruz

  • Chancellor: Cynthia K. Larive
  • Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor: Lori Kletzer
  • Vice Chancellor, Research: John MacMillan
  • Vice Chancellor, University Relations: Mark Davis

inquiry@UC Santa Cruz, 2022-23

  • Editor: David Egerter (SciCom ‘88)
  • Creative Director: Lisa Nielsen

Associate Editors

  • Heather Shearer, principal
  • Jeanne Lance


  • Anil Ananthaswamy (SciCom ’00)

  • Bethany Augliere (SciCom ’16)

  • Genevieve Bookwalter (SciCom ’02)

  • Katie Brown (SciCom ’19)

  • Elizabeth Devitt (SciCom ’13)

  • David Egerter (SciCom ’88)

  • Emily Harwitz (SciCom ’21)

  • Kimberly Hickock (SciCom ’18)

  • Emma Hiolski (SciCom ’17)

  • Erin Loury (SciCom ’12)

  • Dana Mackenzie (SciCom ’97)

  • Erin Malsbury (SciCom ’20)

  • Annie Melchor (SciCom ’21)

  • Annie Roth (SciCom ’19)

  • K. M. Watson (SciCom ’84)

  • Sarah C. P. Williams (SciCom ’07)

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