Science on Tap

Monthly over Zoom

Come one, come all to the “science café” in Santa Cruz. This event is designed to connect the Santa Cruz community to the latest research happening just up the hill at U.C. Santa Cruz.  It is not an exclusive “club meeting” for scientists and science majors and aims to appeal to all audiences. So come, grab a beer, relax and hear some interesting cutting edge science that’s happening near you! Science on Tap is based on the Nova and Sigma Xi "science café" model and is generally on the last Wednesday of every month.


*Due to Covid-19, we will host mostly meetings online via Zoom. 

"Armed and Dangerous: How octopuses use and lose their arms"


 Kelley Voss

Ph.D. Candidate in the Mehta Lab at UC Santa Cruz
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dept

Octopuses have a fascinating and important place in the marine ecosystem because they connect many different organisms in the food web. They are hunted by fish, marine mammals, and even other octopuses, so they have had to evolve a variety of interesting, well-known strategies they use to live another day. They can effectively hide from, startle, and evade a would-be predator. As a last resort, if they’re attacked, they also have the ability to completely regenerate lost arms. However, almost nothing is known about their ability to retaliate, which means defending themselves when they are cornered by a predator. We also don't know how an octopus’ behaviors may change to compensate after it loses one of its eight arms. Which arms are they using? Which arms are they losing? In this talk, I will share what I have been doing to investigate the causes and impacts of arm loss in a variety of octopus species. 

Who: Everyone! Not just scientists!
When: Last Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm 
Where: Online via Zoom, make sure to RSVP!

Science on Tap at the Catalyst

*This event may return in the future.

      Join us at the "science pub" in Santa Cruz. This event is designed to connect the Santa Cruz community to the latest research happening just up the hill at U.C. Santa Cruz. It also provides an opportunity for graduate students to share their research with the community! 

     The event will be followed by "Sci-Fi Movie Night" at The Catalyst where one of your favorite sci-fi movies will be presented at 8 pm(please visit '' for more movie details). Science on Tap with generally start at 6:45 pm and the Sci-Fi movie will be shown at 8 pm. Science on Tap is generally on the second Monday of every month and is a free event! While this community event is designed for everyone, not just scientist is it 21 and over. We look forward to seeing you there! 

If you are interested in presenting at this event please email "" with the subject line "Science on Tap at the Catalyst". Please include your name, academic year, department, research topic, and availablity. Thank you! 

Science on Tap - November 11, 2019

Return of the dead: How resurrection

plants come back to life

Helen Holmlund

  University of California, Santa Cruz


Most plants die when they dry out, but resurrection plants are an exception to this rule. Resurrection plants can lose almost all their water and then come back to life when they are watered again. We call these plants “desiccation tolerant,” because they can survive near-complete desiccation (drying). In fact, most plants are desiccation tolerant at the seed stage, but only a few plants also have desiccation-tolerant leaves, stems, and roots. Desiccation tolerance might seem like the ultimate plant super power, but there are some challenges associated with being a resurrection plant. Plants have a vascular system, kind of like we do. When resurrection plants resurrect, they need to restore water flow through their vascular system. My collaborators and I used high-resolution CT scans (x-rays) to see inside the plants while they were resurrecting. Our results show that these resurrection plants have several special traits that help them restore water flow through their vascular system.

Who: Everyone! Not just scientists! (21+)
When: Monday, November 11th th at 7:00 pm 
Where: The Catalyst (1011 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz) 

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