Asilomar: great science plus shells, flowers on the beach

Asilomar is known in the field of biomedical sciences as a great place to go for small meetings.

I was there recently for the First Annual Bay Area Stem Cell Conference, which I helped to organize. It was an exciting meeting and all the presenters (except keynoters) were trainees. The amount of great stem cell science being done by these and other young researchers is amazing. They are the future of science and medicine.

From the data presented at the meeting, one could also see the many potential translational paths to the bedside. These kinds of bench-to-bedside connections ranged from development of treatments for genetic diseases to new insights into different types of cancer to heart disease research to efforts at increased milk production for women having trouble nursing. That last topic was probably the most unexpected for me. The presentations included almost every type of stem cells.

Overall, the science was great.

Asilomar also has a beautiful beach. It’s just south of Monterey, but I’ve never seen so many shells on the beaches in Monterey.¬†More generally, I always find the beach to be like a magnet for me and I enjoy taking photos (you can see some past nature and garden photos here). In this post I’ve included a few of my favorite pics from a walk on the beach on this recent visit to Asilomar.

Anyone know what plants these flowers are?

They must be incredibly salt tolerant to be right on the beach dunes.

The “stars” on the yellow flowers looked like the sugary parts of Lucky Charms cereal.

Asilomar Beach flowers
Asilomar Beach flowers.
Beach shells
I’ve never seen a beach have so many striking shells all in one place as Asilomar. I don’t know if it’s always this way or if a storm washed all these in here recently, but it was striking.



Asilomar Beach flowers
More Beach flowers. They are essentially growing in pure sand with lots of salt in it.
Asilomar beachcombing
Asilomar beach shows that the ocean here has highly varied sea life.


4 thoughts on “Asilomar: great science plus shells, flowers on the beach”

  1. Hello, as a Scientist, it’s important for you to share correct messaging about this area being a Marine Protected Area – a “no take” zone. Shells provide habitat for a number of species; we do not encourage the taking of shells, seaweed, or rocks from this habitat area. It would be great if you could change or update this post about making necklaces from the shells.

  2. Hi, Paul! I think your flowers are Yellow Sand Verbena and Springbank Clover. This is according to the Seek app, which I use all the time to ID flowers/plants when I’m out hiking. You should try it!

    1. Hi Erin,
      Thanks! I think you are right about both flowers! I have to get the Seek app!
      That verbena has the amazing ability (psammophory), which is attracting sand to itself to make itself harder to eat by predators.

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