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Poster Session: Abstracts & Awards


Poster Awards

The MBNMS presents awards for outstanding research posters presented at the MBNMS Sanctuary Currents Symposium. The judges determine the specific kinds of awards to present each year based on the posters presented at the Symposium.

Past Research Poster Award Winners

2005 Best Graduate Student Poster




2005 Best High School Student Poster




Poster Session Abstracts

Adams, Josh (1), Cheryl L. Baduini (2), Michelle Hester (3), K. David Hyrenbach (4), Carol Keiper (3), and James T. Harvey (5)

(1) US Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, Moss Landing, CA
(2) W.M. Keck Science Center, Claremont, CA
(3) Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, Bolinas, CA
(4) Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC
(5) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Think Locally, Act Globally: Migratory Seabirds Measure Pan-Pacific Connectivity Among West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries

Using satellite telemetry and molecular genetics we have shown that west coast National Marine Sanctuaries provide linked globally important habitats for far-ranging Sooty Shearwater and Black-footed Albatross. Shearwater haplotypes from Monterey Bay had significantly different molecular distances from New Zealand and from Chile, but contained haplotypes both common in New Zealand and rare in Chile, and vice versa, indicating that eastern and western populations overlap in the MBNMS. In 2004, six shearwaters captured off Capitola during the molting period (June to July), resided within the Monterey Bay and adjacent waters off California for 1-2 months; one individual ranged as far as Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Satellite data revealed San Luis Bay to be important destinations for birds marked in Monterey Bay. In September, 12 of 14 shearwaters flew directly toward New Zealand, and crossed the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees S, ~8100 km) after 15 ± 4 d. 50% of albatross locations within the US EEZ occurred within west coast Sanctuaries. Three birds ranged into the western North Pacific Ocean, and all albatrosses ventured outside of the EEZ, with 60% of locations in the high seas. Preliminary results indicate albatross post-breeding ranges overlapped with pelagic longline fisheries. Conservation of these far-ranging migratory seabirds requires accurate knowledge of their movements and distributions at sea. This study is the first of its kind to track the incredible trans-pacific migration of individual Sooty Shearwaters and the far-ranging movements of Black-footed Albatross within National Marine Sanctuaries, and beyond, during the non-breeding season.

Alter, S.E. and S.R. Palumbi

Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA

Shifting Baselines and Historical Demography: Exploring the Population History of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) Using DNA

Understanding historical demographic trends in marine species can help us understand how marine ecosystems like those in the Monterey Bay change over very long time frames. And, in the case of baleen whales, estimating pre-exploitation abundance has important implications for the management of populations. Under certain assumptions, the theoretical relationship between genetic diversity and population size allows inferences about historical population sizes from genetic data. We are using the eastern Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus), an important seasonal visitor to the Monterey Bay, as a case study by sequencing both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from approximately 140 individuals. This population is recovering after two centuries of whaling, and is thought by some biologists to have surpassed its historical population size as estimated from whaling records. However, recent studies have shown that it is impossible to reconcile this historical size with recent population increases under density-dependent, ageand sex-structured models. In these models, consistent trajectories are only achieved under a set of historical adjustments, such as reducing reported catch by 0.3-0.5, assuming carrying capacity has increased by at least 2.5 times, or by introducing density-dependent selection on life history parameters. Was the actual historical population size of gray whales significantly smaller or larger than todayís population? Genetic data can provide an independent line of evidence in answering this question.

Boughton, David and Heidi Fish

NOAA Fisheries, SW Fisheries Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA

Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) of the South-Central California Coast: Current and Historic Occurrence by Basin

The species Oncorhynchus mykiss has sufficient geographic specialization that biologists subdivide it into a series of "evolutionarily significant units," one of which inhabits the drainages of the Monterey Bay, Big Sur coast, and San Luis Obispo County. Steelhead in this area are currently considered to be threatened with extinction. To inform the development of regionalscale recovery goals, we assessed the current distribution of steelhead at the resolution of individual coastal basins. The two largest basins - those of the Salinas and Pajaro Rivers, were assessed at the resolution of sub-basins. The data suggest that O. mykiss are still geographically widespread within this region, despite large declines in abundance during the 20th Century.

Breaker L.C. (1), A.M. Fischer (2), E. Rienecker (2), N.A. Welschmeyer (1), and J.P Ryan (2)

(1) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(2) Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

A Connection to the Bay: The Discharge Plume from Elkhorn Slough

The discharge plume from Elkhorn Slough and its contribution to the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) have received little attention. Unlike seasonal contributions from rivers that feed into the Sanctuary, Elkhorn Slough exchanges waters with Monterey Bay twice daily, year-round. The tidal prism of Elkhorn Slough has almost tripled over the past 40 years and discharge from this estuary now constitutes one of the largest inputs to the Sanctuary. The phenomenal growth of Elkhorn Slough is primarily due to vigorous tidal forcing that has resulted in greatly increased erosion. This process is manifested in the sediment-laden discharge that occurs during each ebb tide. In addition to sediments, the discharge plume contains a number of chemical and biological constituents that distinguish it from surrounding bay waters. Since March 2004, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and Moss Landing Marine Labs have monitored the physical, chemical, and biological exchange between the slough and the MBNMS. The discharge plume was sampled in March and December of 2004 and in January of 2005, at various tidal stages. Measurements include surface observations of water clarity, temperature, salinity, fluorescence, and nitrates. Drifters were deployed to determine plume surface flow patterns. MBARIís Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and vertical profiles have mapped the 3-D structure of the plume. Water samples were analyzed for chlorophylls, cartenoids, and fatty acid biomarkers. Preliminary results from this monitoring program are presented.

Carlisle, Aaron (1), Aaron E. King (2), Gregor M. Cailliet (1), and James S. Brennan (3)

(1) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(2) BLM/DOI California Coastal National Monument, and NOAA/DOC National Marine Protected Areas Center, Science Institute
(3) King County, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Seattle, WA

Long-Term Trends in Catch Composition from Elasmobranch Derbies in Elkhorn Slough, California

Changes in species composition and catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) were analyzed from 55 elasmobranch sportfishing derbies held in Elkhorn Slough (Monterey Bay, CA) during May, June and July, from 1951 until 1995. The most abundant species, bat rays (Myliobatis californica), shovelnose guitarfish (Rhinobatos productus) and leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata), were also analyzed for size-weight relationships, trends in size class distributions, and sex ratios. Changes in species composition over the last forty-plus years included the near complete disappearance of shovelnose guitarfish from later years, and an increase in some less common species, most notably the thornback ray (Platyrhinoidis triseriata) and smoothhound sharks (Mustelus spp.). Thornbacks became a regular component of the catch by the early 1970's, and have been slowly increasing in abundance since then, and now may be one of the most abundant elasmobranchs in Elkhorn Slough. The appearance and increase in thornbacks possibly corresponds with the decrease in shovelnose guitarfish. A peak in overall CPUE was evident during the mid to late fifties. Smaller size classes of shovelnose guitarfish had at one time been part of the catch, but disappeared from the catches before the 1970's. The average size of female bat rays is possibly increasing, while the male sizes showed no obvious changes. Leopard shark size class distribution data showed no obvious changes. Female bat rays and shovelnose guitarfish were larger than their male counterparts, and outnumbered males nearly 2:1. Female and male leopard sharks were more nearly equal in size and sex ratio.

Clark, Ross P.

California Coastal Commission, Santa Cruz, CA

Tracking the Health of Central Coast Wetlands

California has adopted a "No Net Loss" policy for wetlands. However, without a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program, the State has no means to track the attainment of this policy. The Central Coast Wetland Working Group, coordinated by the California Coastal Commission, has been working collaboratively to develop numerous tools and assessment protocols for use on the Central Coast. Tools include the Central Coast Wetlands GIS Project which provides descriptive and digital spatial wetland and watershed data for California's Central Coast in an Internet-based, interactive geographic information system. An updated and expanded National Wetland Inventory, a web based Wetland Project Tracker to compile information on the multitude of wetland restoration and mitigation projects currently underway, and the newly completed California Rapid Assessment Method for wetlands (CRAM) used to quickly assess the condition of any wetland. Over the next year these products will be compiled as a web based tool from which to track changes in wetland acreage and condition, critical information if we are to meet a ìNo Net Lossî policy for Central Coast Wetlands.

Conway-Cranos, Tish and Pete Raimondi

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Geographical Variation in Recovery of Rocky Intertidal Communities Following a Disturbance

Long-term monitoring by the MMS Shoreline Inventory has revealed that geographical variation, disturbance size, recruitment rate, and life-history characteristics affect recovery dynamics of the rocky intertidal zone of the California coast. To more fully understand and predict recovery rates, I am studying four sessile species that are common along the California coast, occur in discrete zones within the intertidal, and exhibit different combinations of two life history characteristics that may play important roles in recovery dynamics, life span and dispersal distance. These species are the California mussel Mytilus californianus, which is long-lived and long-dispersing, the acorn barnacle Chthamalus dalli/fissus, which is short-lived and long-dispersing, the rockweed Silvetia compressa, which is long-lived and short-dispersing, and the red turf alga Endocladia muricata, which is relatively short-lived and has an unknown dispersal distance. I have made experimental clearings (disturbances) in each of these zones in an array of sizes, from small (8 cm x 12 cm) to large (50 cm x 75 cm). I will use data from these plots to examine the relationship between disturbance size and recovery rate. I am also investigating whether input rate is an important factor to recovery rate by measuring monthly recruitment (input) of each target species. To address whether geographical location is important to recovery dynamics, I am conducting this experiment in three distinct oceanographic regions: North, near to and South of Point Conception, a major biogeographic break along the California coast.

Dickey, Kathleen

UC Berkeley Herbarium, Berkeley, CA

Discerning Patterns of Distribution of Marine Algae in the Rocky Intertidal at Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco County, California

Small-scale, fine-stroke intertidal studies have an important role in the monitoring, conservation and management of coastal resources. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary has sponsored intertidal censuses on the Southeast Farallon Islands since 1992. Located just twenty seven miles from the city of San Francisco, California, and near the convergence of three major shipping lanes, SEFI is nevertheless a rare opportunity to study a pristine site, protected both as the USFW Farallon National Wildlife Refuge and as part of the National Marine Sanctuary, which is part of NOAA. As part of the mainland within the last ten thousand years, SEFI shares many of the same species with the nearby coast. More than 200 algal species have been documented, including some not previously found in central California. Intriguingly, some of the most common algae of the Pacific Northwest, including the rockweeds, are absent at SEFI.

Dobrowski, Bridget

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

AWQA Partners with Central Coast Farmers to Protect Water Quality Before it Reaches the Sanctuary

As water flows from the hills down to the ocean through rural lands, farms, and cities, it picks a number of pollutants along the way. Concerned about the potential impact of agriculture on the marine ecosystem, the Sanctuary developed the Agriculture and Rural Lands Plan with the help of the agriculture industry and agencies in 1999. Since then, AWQA, a partnership of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE), Resource Conservation Districts (RCD) and Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition (Coalition), has been working with Central Coast farmers to protect water quality by providing training, developing farm plans, monitoring on farm water quality, and implementing water quality conservation practices.

Donnellan, Michael D.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, Moss Landing, CA

Spatial and Temporal Variability of Kelp Forest Canopies in Central California

Recent advances in computer hardware and software have spurred a renewed look at historical datasets of kelp canopies. Using a time series of aerial photographs spanning 65 kilometers and 6 years, I described the spatial and temporal patterns of kelp canopy coverage in Macrocystisdominated kelp forests offshore of Monterey, California. The principal findings of this work were that: 1) canopy dynamics were much more predictable in central California than previously thought; 2) the size of the spatial window through which temporal patterns of canopy abundance are perceived is a critical determinant of the observed results; 3) canopies exhibited typical ìpatch sizesî, suggesting that an important process or processes occur at similar scales; and 4) kelp forests may be classified by their canopy dynamics over large spatial scales using time series of remotely sensed images, provided the classification scheme is validated by focused in situ work.

Drake, P. T. (1), Margaret McManus (2), Jamie Grover (1), Randolph Skrovan (1), Mark Carr (1), and Pete Raimondi (1)

(1) Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
(2) Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, HI

Physical Oceanography and Marine Ecology: Potential Oceanographic Insights into Nearshore Ecosystems in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Physical processes in the ocean have profound effects on marine ecosystems. The wind-driven upwelling of deep, nutrient-rich waters along the California coast jumpstarts a bloom of marine algae every spring. The periodic flood and ebb of the tide can transport marine larvae and thereby populate new communities. To better understand these processes and their potential impacts on sea life, a comprehensive array of physical oceanographic instruments has been deployed in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Organized by the Sanctuary and the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the array will soon be expanded to encompass 19 in-water sites ranging from San Simeon in the south to Pigeon Point in the north. Dozens of instruments are employed to measure two primary variables: seawater temperature and ocean current. Deployed near kelp forests in the relatively shallow water of the inner continental shelf, some of the instruments have been in place for five years. The effort has confirmed the importance of the wind as a driver of ocean temperature through the upwelling of deep, cold water. And the research has also shown how tidal periodicities influence the settlement of barnacles in northern Monterey Bay. Other physical processes, including internal tides and waves, are actively being investigated for their potential impact on marine ecology.

Freund, Ellen V. (1), Nicole G. Beck (2) and Maggie Mathias (2)

(1) NOAA Fisheries, Santa Cruz, CA
(2) 2ND NATURE, Santa Cruz, CA

Comparative Lagoon Ecological Assessment Project

All of the coastal watersheds in Santa Cruz County discharge into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The mouths of these rivers and creeks close seasonally when sandbars block their connection to the ocean, forming lagoons. The lagoons are highly dynamic and unique ecosystems poised at the land-sea interface, yet they have received little study. The Comparative Lagoon Ecological Assessment Project (CLEAP) is aimed at improving our understanding of these coastal lagoons. CLEAP is a 3-year project (2003-2006) funded by the Coastal Conservancy and administered by the Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District. Its goals include: 1) documenting baseline chemical, physical and ecological conditions of SC County lagoons; 2) gaining a functional understanding of central California lagoons; and 3) standardizing monitoring protocols of these systems. Five lagoons were chosen for study based on a gradient of human impact from relatively pristine (Scott and Laguna Creek lagoons) to more heavily impacted (San Lorenzo River, Soquel and Aptos Creek lagoons). Detailed physical, chemical and biological data are collected at each site prior to and following lagoon formation. By assessing the responses of numerous trophic levels to changing lagoon conditions we will evaluate the ecological health and function of these lagoons. Because the lagoons are important rearing habitat for threatened steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), data on their growth and lagoon utilization are also collected. This work will increase our understanding of the relationship between urban land use and lagoon health in coastal Santa Cruz County to improve the management and quality of our lagoons.

Gilbert-Horvath, Elizabeth A. (1,2), Ralph J. Larson (2) and John Carlos Garza (1)

(1) NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA
(2) San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA

Temporal Recruitment Patterns and Genetic Population Structure in Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens)

Pelagic dispersal of marine organisms provides abundant opportunity for gene flow and presumably inhibits population genetic divergence. Contrary to the expectation of larval panmixia is the frequent observation in settled propagules of fine-scale, ephemeral temporal and spatial genetic heterogeneity, against a background of genetic homogeneity. High variance in reproductive success is one explanation for this phenomenon. Here, population genetic analyses of 16 microsatellite loci are used to examine young-of-year kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) recently dispersed and recruited to adult habitat in Monterey Bay, California. Temporal patterns in recruitment throughout the 1998 reproductive season are studied to assess the genetic composition of settled juveniles. Population structure of adults from central and northern California is evaluated to determine its potential contribution to recruitment patterns. Genetic homogeneity was found among 414 young-of-year kelp rockfish collected from Monterey and comprising the extent of the spawning and recruitment seasons. Adults exhibited panmixia among seven populations spanning 800km of coastline that included the Point Conception marine biogeographic boundary; however, the Carmel Bay site was mildly differentiated. Comparison of young-of-year and adult samples revealed no genetic differentiation and no measurable reduction in genetic variation of offspring, indicating little variance in reproductive success and no reduction in effective population size in the 1998 year class. The finding of high gene flow and low genetic drift has important implications for fisheries management and conservation efforts.

Hammerstrom, K.K., S. Kim, and J. Oliver

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Characterization of the Benthic Infaunal Community in Elkhorn Slough

Historically, Elkhorn Slough was a shallow freshwater marsh with extensive tidal flats. The establishment of a permanent entrance for Moss Landing Harbor in 1947 initiated increased seawater flux that began altering the ecosystem. A deep marine lagoon was well-developed by the time of the first quantitative community surveys in the early 1970's; nevertheless, sampling sites that were intertidal in the 1970s are now completely subtidal. Erosion continues to cause habitat loss as flow speeds increase due to enhanced tidal flux in the deepening channels, a process with potentially profound impacts on benthic infaunal communities. We assembled historical infaunal data collected in the mid-1970s and 1991, and comprehensively sampled intertidal and subtidal habitats in 2003. We examined patterns of species assemblage, abundance, and richness in an effort to describe community changes that have occurred as a result of continued and increased erosion in the slough. These efforts provide a well-defined foundation for future comparative and experimental infaunal work in Elkhorn Slough.

Hayashi, Kendra and G. Jason Smith

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Pseudo-nitzschia Blooms, Domoic Acid Production, and Genetic Diversity of P. australis in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Domoic acid (DA) is a neurotoxin produced by some species in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia and is responsible for amnesic shellfish poisoning. Levels of DA production fluctuate in response to specific environmental conditions, but even under common environments, isolates of identical Pseudo-nitzschia species can exhibit over 2 orders of magnitude difference in DA production, suggesting an underlying genetic control of toxicity. To evaluate this hypothesis and attempt to develop molecular markers for actively toxic Pseudo-nitzschia species, a sampling program began in May 2003, collecting water from weekly net tows off the Monterey Wharf 2 (36 degrees 36'18"N, 121 degrees 53'23"W). In 2003, multiple Pseudo-nitzschia blooms occurred with varying toxicity levels, but in 2004, bloom dynamics changed, with fewer, smaller, and less toxic Pseudonitzschia blooms and more blooms of dinoflagellate species. When possible, Pseudo-nitzschia cell isolates were collected and 3 isolate cultures (2 from the same sample date) with varying toxicity levels were used to begin examining genetic differences between P. australis strains. To date, analysis of rDNA ITS sequence has revealed minimal diversity (<0.33%) among P. australis isolates from toxic blooms in Monterey Bay, whereas the diversity between species, P. australis and P. fraudulenta, is 16%. Pseudo-nitzschia australis isolates from Bodega Bay, while non-toxic, also exhibit low ITS sequence divergence (<0.22%) relative to Monterey Bay isolates. Previous reports of ~30% divergence between P. delicatissima isolates from the Mediterranean suggest that cryptic diversity underlies the variation in toxicity. In contrast, the low level of intraspecific variation in P. australis suggests a possible epigenetic control on toxicity levels.

Henkel, Laird (1, 2), Hannah Nevins (1), and Jim Harvey (1)

(1) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(2) H.T. Harvey & Associates Ecological Consulting, Aptos, CA

Is Winter Mortality of Surf Scoters Density Dependent?

Substantial numbers of non-breeding Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata) occur in nearshore waters off central California from November through April. In early spring 1998, deposition of dead Surf Scoters on beaches of Monterey Bay spiked to 3.6 birds per linear km, more than 20 times the five-year mean, coincident with increased numbers of Surf Scoters observed at-sea. Of 33 gastrointestinal tracts examined from beach-cast Surf Scoters, 19 (58%) contained shells of Pacific sand crabs (Emerita analoga). Other prey included bivalves (42%), gastropods (12%), and annelids (9%). 30 of 33 (91%) scoters were infested with acanthocephalan parasites, most at densities of 15-20 parasites per cm of intestine. Death may have been due to perforation of intestinal walls and peritonitis as a result of these infections. To assess whether this die-off was density dependent, we compared mean monthly at-sea density of Surf Scoters in Monterey Bay (from nearshore strip transect surveys) and monthly deposition of dead Surf Scoters collected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Beach COMBERS project on about 47 km of Monterey Bay beaches over 26 months. Deposition rate (numbers of birds per linear kilometer) was exponentially related to at-sea density during the previous month. These data indicate that winter mortality of Surf Scoters in central California may be density dependent. Further use of at-sea surveys conducted concurrently with beached-bird monitoring projects can help determine if observed die-offs represent unusual mortality events, or are simply proportional to fluctuating local population levels.

Jahncke, Jaime (1), Benjamin L. Saenz (2), Chris Rintoul (1) and William J. Sydeman (1)

(1) PRBO Conservation Science, Marine Ecology Division, Stinson Beach, CA
(2) Stanford University, Mitchell Earth Sciences Building, Stanford, CA

Understanding Seabird Forging and Oceanographic Processes in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank

We tested the hypothesis that foraging opportunities for seabirds and other upper trophic level predators increases at bathymetric and hydrographic features where prey aggregates at predictable locations in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank. Research cruises were conducted in May, July, September and October 2004. We determined the distribution and abundance of birds and mammals during upwelling and non-upwelling events using standardized strip and line transects, zooplankton and fish using hydroacoustics and nets, and the physical oceanography using the underway data acquisition system of the ship and CTD casts. The most important bathymetric features used by marine birds included the Farallones Archipelago, Cordell Bank and the shelf break. The most noticeable hydrographic feature was the upwelling plume off Point Reyes. Cassinís auklets (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) foraged in large numbers in the vicinity of the front during strong upwelling events and moved to Cordell and the shelf break during nonupwelling periods. Common murres (Uria aalge) foraged over ìgreenî waters south of Point Reyes and San Francisco Bay during strong and non- upwelling episodes. Shallow areas near the Farallones Islands where important foraging habitats for pigeon guillemots (Cephus columba) and Brandtís cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus). Among marine mammals, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) were found using shallow waters near the Southeast Farallon Islands, while humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and blue (Balaenoptera musculus) whales were generally sighted near the shelf break and east of Cordell Bank. A thorough knowledge of foraging areas and oceanographic processes important for marine predators is necessary for a successful MPA design in Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank.

Jensen, Amanda and Mark Carr

Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, CA

PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) Subtidal Monitoring Projects in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

In collaboration with MBNMS researchers, PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) subtidal monitoring program at UC Santa Cruz has conducted surveys of the abundance of fish, algae and invertebrates at approximately 20 sites within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Over the past six years, PISCO researchers have used these data to identify changes in populations and kelp forest communities and how these changes vary among monitoring sites. Information on the number and sizes of fished species derived from these surveys are provided to Californiaís Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) for assessing the state of fishery stocks. In 2004, four of these sites and an additional twelve sites were surveyed to assess the impacts of erosion along the Big Sur Coast. Data from these surveys are being used to identify areas and communities particularly sensitive to the effects of coastal erosion and will inform efforts by the Sanctuary and CalTrans to minimize these impacts. PISCO's monitoring activities also examine temporal and spatial patterns of replenishment of rockfish populations. Annual counts of juvenile rockfishes in kelp forests are combined with oceanographic data to identify the influence of oceanographic processes (e.g., upwelling, El Niño) on patterns of replenishment of rockfish populations. PISCO also hosts an annual training course to familiarize divers with the plants and animals found in the Sanctuary, and to prepare divers for the monitoring season. Participants are graduates and undergraduate students from local universities, MBNMS and CDFG researchers, and volunteers from the diving community.

Karr, Kendra and Mike Beck

Marine Initiative of The Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz, CA

Conservation Leasing and Ownership of Marine Rights and their Application in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

It has been commonly assumed that strategies for marine conservation must be substantially different than those for terrestrial conservation, in part because it is not possible to ìbuy the bottomî of the publicly owned oceans. This is an unfortunate misconception. There is significant submerged land available for lease and ownership in the USA for a diverse array of ecosystems. Currently, most of Californiaís policy on leasing and ownership is biased towards the use of natural resources for business (e.g., kelp harvesting) or private use (e.g., docks). With this in mind, The Nature Conservancy has explored the leasing and ownership of submerged lands as a tool for marine conservation and examined some of the benefits, considerations and strategies for the conservation and restoration of these lands. To examine the concept in depth, The Nature Conservancy, PISCO and ISP Alginates have developed a partnership to examine how kelp canopy habitat loss may affect biodiversity within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Nature Conservancy has applied to lease more than 200 acres of California's kelp forests within the MBNMS, the leased beds will be monitored to assess the biodiversity supported by kelp canopy habitats, and the potential impacts of harvesting on that diversity. It is our hope that leasing and ownership of submerged lands will become a viable tool for other conservation groups to link their work to the sea.

Lanctot, Michele and Sarah Wood

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

Biodiversity in the Intertidal Zone: A Study of the Impact of the Mussel Populations at Davenport Landing State Beach

In this study a transect in the intertidal zone of Davenport Landing State Beach is monitored to determine if the population of mussels impacts the biodiversity of the community. In the 1970ís, this same 15 x 3 m transect was chosen to monitor a mussel bed, in order to establish a baseline for comparing future changes. It is hypothesized, that a large mussel population restricts other organisms from inhabiting the substrate: thus lowering community biodiversity. Over thirty species are counted(including anemones, coralline algae and chitons) in four random quadrats along the transect at low tide, twice a month. The biodiversity of each quadrat (Hí) is calculated (using the Shannon Diversity Index) by comparing the relative proportion of each species compared to the total number of all individuals. Results were found by comparing the biodiversity (H') to the number of mussels versus bare rock. The preliminary results indicate that the biodiversity is higher in quadrats with less mussel abundance and a greater proportion of bare rock. Our study demonstrates that where mussels are less abundant species such as anemones, coralline algae and chitons increase in number, therefore supporting our hypothesis. It appears that space is the limiting factor in determining biodiversity in the intertidal zone and where there are less mussels(less competition for space) there is a greater diversity of intertidal organisms.

Livingston, H.A. (1), P.T. Raimondi (1), C.A. Blanchette (2), A. Kendall (1), K. Kusic (1), D. Lohse (1), E. Maloney (1), C.M. Miner (1) and M. Williams (1)

(1) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
(2) Marine Sciences Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

Intertidal Biodiversity Patterns on the Pacific Coast, Including Sites within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Biodiversity surveys have been conducted at nearly 100 rocky intertidal sites from Alaska to Mexico as part of the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) and Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe). Fourteen of these sites are located in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). These surveys employ various biological and physical sampling techniques to standardize the level of effort, area and taxonomic expertise used in sampling to give an estimate of community composition and diversity. To determine percent cover and diversity of intertidal algae and invertebrates a point contact method is used along 11 equally spaced transect lines running from high to low zone. Mobile invertebrates are counted in 33 quadrats (0.25m) divided evenly between the low, mid and high intertidal zones. Sea stars and abalone are counted in a two meter band along each transect line. Measurements of rock height in relation to sea level are recorded along each of the transect lines. Here we present data from the entire range of sites sampled thus far, with particular emphasis on community patterns within MBNMS sites. Cluster analysis reveals that distinct biogeographic breaks in biodiversity occur along the coast creating groups of similar sites. MBNMS sites are similar to sites located from Santa Maria Creek in Pt. Reyes National Seashore to Government Pt. at Pt. Conception. We use SIMPER (Similarities of Percentages, PRIMER-E Ltd 5.0) to determine which species are primarily responsible for driving these patterns.

Maehr, Carol and Dione Dawson

Point Lobos State Reserve Docents, Carmel, CA

Land-based Surveys of Sea Otters at Point Lobos State Reserve

Monthly land-based standardized surveys of southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) have been conducted by experienced volunteer docents in Point Lobos State Reserve since 1989. These data are then compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with other otter survey data ranging from Santa Barbara to Half Moon Bay. The surveys record numbers of independent otters and pups observed, location and behavior. Results are used as an indicator of the population trend of California sea otters in this area. The primary purposes of these surveys have been to identify and illustrate changes in the local otter population for Point Lobos Reserve visitors and to provide this information to the USGS. The surveys are ongoing and are conducted the second Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Maps show the density of otters in the Reserve.

Mansergh, Sarah, Roger Phillips, Eric Kingsley and Jennifer Dreyer

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, CA

Monitoring of Indicator Bacteria in Near Shore Waters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The future health of ocean waters depends on current clean up efforts and the design and implementation of new plans of action. Routine monitoring programs go a long way in providing the information needed to assess these efforts. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been monitoring various aspects of near shore seawater quality in the Monterey Bay since 1984. More recently concerns over animal health and diver safety and a general desire to track the health of our ocean waters lead to the implementation of a bacterial monitoring program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Densities of indicator bacteria have been monitored in the raw (unfiltered) seawater intakes since 1996 and from near shore surface waters since 2000. Weekly samples were analyzed for the presence and most probable number of total coliforms, Escherichia coli and Enterococci using an enzyme substrate method. These groups of bacteria are used to assess water quality in a wide variety of applications including recreational water usage and for ocean discharges. The occurrence and relative densities of these bacterial groups will be described from January 1996 to the present.

Mathes, Dawn

Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition

Farmers Partner to Protect Water Quality

The Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition (Coalition) represents farmers and ranchers in the development and implementation of voluntary, cost-effective, producer-directed programs to protect water quality in the greater Monterey Bay watershed. The Coalition is comprised of six County Farm Bureaus and originally formed as a committee in 1998 with the purpose of assisting the agricultural industry to protect water quality throughout the watersheds that drain into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Coalition has formed twentythree watershed working groups - groups of farmers and ranchers along the same creek or river - to address potential agricultural sources of water quality impairment. Integral to the Coalition program is a voluntary agricultural water quality monitoring program. In partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Coalition works with farmers and ranchers to monitor key constituents and provide water quality information back to the growers. Watersheds are monitored for orthophosphate, Nitrate-nitrogen, dissolved oxygen, Ammonia-nitrogen, pH, temperature, conductivity, and turbity. Growers use this confidential information to ensure their farming practices are protecting water quality.

Miller, Peter E. (1), Gregg W. Langlois (2), Raphael Kudela, (3) Mary W. Silver (3)

(1) Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA.
(2) California Department of Health Services, Richmond, CA.
(3) Ocean Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA.

California Program for Regional Enhanced Monitoring of PhycoToxins (Cal-PReEMPT)

California coastal waters are threatened by Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), but the stateís budget for monitoring is under pressure for cutbacks. Economic realities compel managers to find efficient methods to keep up with their increased monitoring burden. Efficient and cost-effective technologies for species and toxin detection have been developed and remote sensing capabilities are available for bloom tracking, but a constraint to adoption of new methods by the California Department of Health Service (CDHS) is the lack of available funds for ground-truthing them, a necessary step before full adoption. For example, pre-screening plankton and shellfish samples in the field, using simple test kits, could reduce the number of samples submitted to the regulatory laboratory by 80 - 90%, representing a significant potential savings in analytical costs, but before CDHS can adopt these kits, they must be assured of their efficacy. To bridge the gulf between availability of new tools and integration of those into monitoring efforts, NOAA, through its Monitoring and Event Response Program for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB), is providing funding to perform necessary validation of new tools for incorporation of them into CDHS monitoring program. This presentation will provide an overview of our MERHAB-funded program and describe our expected outcomes.

Miner, C.M., P.T. Raimondi, M. George, D.P. Lohse, A. Nickels, and C. Roe

University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Serious Decline in Central California Black Abalone Populations: Outlook for Recovery and Community Structure Implications

Populations of black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) have been steadily declining in the southern portion of the species' range due to a fatal disease called "withering syndrome". Withering syndrome (WS) is caused by the bacterium Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis, which attacks the lining of the digestive track and results in reduced body mass, weakness, and eventual withering of the abaloneís foot until it can no longer cling to the substratum. Declines have been so severe across all regions in southern California that the species is now a candidate for protection under the USA Endangered Species Act. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz, working with the MARINe (Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network) and PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans) monitoring groups have documented the northward progression of WS along the California coast. Recently, concern about the northward movement of WS into some of the final remaining large populations of black abalone prompted the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to provide funding to monitor additional sites within the sanctuary's boundaries. Sites now range from Pt. Conception to Pescadero. At each site, black abalone are counted and measured within permanently marked plots. By counting and measuring abalone, we can document both population declines (indicated by decreases across all abalone size classes), and recruitment events (indicated by increases in the number of abalone < 50mm in length). Implications of the declines are presented, including the effect of losing these large grazers on intertidal community structure, and the outlook for black abalone recovery.

Morris, E., P. Iampietro, and R. Kvitek

California State University, Monterey Bay, Seafloor Mapping Lab, Seaside, CA

Integrated Spatial Data Modeling Tools for Auto-Classification and Delineation of Species- Specific Habitat Maps from High-Resolution, Digital Hydrographic Data

We used high-resolution multibeam bathymetry, together with precisely geolocated (± 5m) ROV observations of fish distribution, to produce species-specific and genus-specific habitat suitability models for eight rockfish (Sebastes) species in the Del Monte shale beds of Monterey Bay, California. A high-resolution (2m) digital elevation model (DEM) was generated and used to produce derived habitat characteristic layers using repeatable, non-subjective algorithmic methods. These data layers, together with the positions and counts of observed species were then used to create predictive models of habitat suitability. Factors evaluated for incorporation in the models included depth, slope, rugosity, and TPI at various scales. Statistical and empirical testing revealed that distance to a TPI50 "peak" was the most effective predictor of fish location. Thus, distance to TPI50 peak was used as a simple indicator of habitat suitability for all species. An average of 80% of all Sebastes were found within optimal habitat as defined by this simple model (Model 1). By incorporating depth, a refined suitability model (Model 4) was created for five species. Both models were used to produce stock estimates for all species and for all Sebastes, based on observed densities of rockfish within the ROV survey area and total area of habitat suitability classes in the overall shale bed study area.

Murai, Lee Y. (1), H. Gary Greene (1), and Steven N. Ward (2)

(1) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA (2) University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Trans-Terrestrial Landslides and the Impact on the Marine Environment: Big Sur Coastline, California

Recent investigation of the continental margin south of Point Sur, along the coastal area of the central Santa Lucia Mountain Range, using EM300 30 kHz multibeam bathymetry, 100 kHz sidescan sonar, and 3.5 kHz seismic reflection profile data indicate that extensive landslide deposits exist along the distal part of the continental shelf and upper slope within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Submersible dives using the Delta revealed that the deposits imaged in the remotely sensed data sets were composed of angular to sub-rounded boulders, cobbles and pebbles lying at a depth of 80 to 130m with little biological growth and sediment cover suggesting a fairly young (~100 years) age for the deposits. Based on preliminary aerial examination of the deposit we estimate a volume ranging from 0.05- 1 km3 that came to rest 2-3 km offshore of the Big Sur coastline. If such a deposit were to fail at one time it could produce a significant tsunami. We will present evidence that shows the distribution of the slide and a model of the possible impact wave that it could have generated.

Nevins, Hannah (1), Jim Harvey (1), Scott Benson (2), Andrew DeVolgelaere (3) Simona Bartl (4), Dave Jessup (5), and Jack Ames (5)

(1) COMBERS, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(2) NOAA-Fisheries- Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(3) Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA
(4) Teacher Education Program, Moss Landing, CA.
(5) Department of Fish and Game, Marine Wildlife Veterinarian Care and Research Center, Santa Cruz, CA.

BEACHCOMBERS: Using Surveys Of Beached Marine Birds To Investigate Natural And Human-Related The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 1997 - 2004

Since 1997, trained volunteers have conducted monthly beached bird and mammal surveys in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Using standardized survey methods, we have obtained baseline rates of deposition (birds km-1mo.-1) of beached birds and identified unusual mortality events related to human activities (e.g. fishery bycatch, oil spills) and natural phenomena (e.g. starvation events). We maintain a network of scientists, researchers and resource managers to enable early detection and investigation of mortality events. We documented sources of mortality affecting resident species, including Common Murre (Uria aalge) and Brandtís Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicullatus); and migratory species, including Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), loons (Gavia spp.), grebes (Aechmophorus spp.), and gulls (Larus spp.). We also report on our efforts to disseminate information to the public and educational institutions via teacher workshops and web-based information systems.

Newton, Kelly (1), John Calambokidis (2), Jim Harvey (3), and Don Croll (1)

(1) Center for Integrated Marine Technologies, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
(2) Cascadia Research, Olympia, WA
(3) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Large Whale Foraging in the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries

The Center for Integrated Marine Technologies (CIMT) conducted whale tagging cruises in the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries during September 2003, and July and September 2004. The goal of the tagging effort is to establish the relationship between remote and directly sensed physical and biological oceanographic processes and the distribution and movement of large whales. In the short-term, it will provide us with an understanding of the location and dynamics of large whale foraging habitat; ultimately, it will provide a basis from which to predict the effects of the climate variability on the dynamics of large whale distribution and abundance patterns - a key goal of resource managers. We deployed archival dive recorders on a total of 10 blue whales in 2003, and 3 blue whales and 6 humpback whales in 2004. Four of these deployments occurred concurrently with the collection of hydroacoustic data in 2003 and 5 in 2004. Prey species were sampled hydroacoustically as well as via fishing and targeted zooplankton net tows. In the future we plan to expand our archival tagging efforts to further elucidate the relationship between oceanographic patterns, prey patches, and whale diving behavior.

Oftedal, Olav (1), Katherine Ralls (1), Alice Green (2), Katherine Mertes (1), Eric Heil (1), and Tim Tinker (3)

(1) Smithsonian National Zoological Park (SNZP), Washington, D.C.
(2) University of California Davis, Davis, CA
(3) US Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA

Nutritional Constraints on Sea Otters in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The slow growth of the threatened southern sea otter population is accompanied by a number of phenomena, such as declining mass/length ratios, increased foraging time, increased dietary diversity, high adult mortality rates, and high rates of disease, that are suggestive of nutritional inadequacies. Our goal is to determine if sea otters in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are subject to nutritional constraints, either on individual, seasonal or population levels, which could help explain observed patterns of reproduction, morbidity, mortality, and population growth. We are examining the caloric content and nutrient composition of otter prey species in both northern (Monterey Bay) and southern (San Simeon-Cambria) areas of MBNMS, in combination with direct foraging data obtained for individual radio-tagged wild otters. Samples of all observed prey are collected, but geographic and seasonal comparisons will focus on 10 major prey types. We are performing a variety of nutritional analyses on seasonal samples, including proximate composition (water, fat, protein, gross energy) and major minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium). Three (summer, fall, winter) of 4 planned prey collections have been completed. Samples are shipped frozen to the SNZP Nutrition Laboratory and processed to separate uneaten components (e.g. urchin tests, crab carapaces) from material for analysis. We will present data from analyses completed to date. Future plans include a comparison of the nutritional composition of sea otter diets in the MBNMS with those at San Nicolas Island, California, and Glacier Bay, Alaska, two areas where sea otter populations appear to have abundant food resources.

Osorio, David A. and Mary Bergen

California Department of Fish & Game, Marine Region, Monterey, CA

Informing Nearshore Fishery Management and Monitoring Californiaís MPAs

CRANE (Cooperative Research and Assessment of Nearshore Ecosystems) is a collaborative effort among California marine scientists to develop fishery-independent, coast-wide abundance estimates for economically important fish and invertebrate species. The objective is to provide data for managing Californiaís nearshore fishery and the evaluation of the Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas. In 2002 and 2003, standard protocols for scuba surveys were developed. In 2004, 71 sites were surveyed (20 within MBNMS). In addition, data from scuba surveys, some dating back to 1970, are being reviewed. These data will allow us to analyze the abundance and size frequency of fish and invertebrate populations in nearshore rocky reef and kelp habitats between Monterey Bay and San Diego, including the Channel Islands. We will also analyze temporal changes in abundance and size of select species of management concern. This cooperation of various university, private and government programs has yielded a unique consolidation of data on species composition and population structure over a broad geographic range in Californiaís nearshore environment.

Pattengill-Semmens, Christy V.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Key Largo, FL

The REEF Fish Survey Project in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Effective management of coastal ecosystems requires information on the distributions, abundances, and trends of organisms. Long-term geographically-distributed data sets are often the first line of defense in detecting ecological change. However, field scientists are often too few and too little money is available for large-scale monitoring programs. In addition to the need for monitoring programs, national, regional and local government strategies also include education and awareness as critical components. Citizen science programs are an ideal approach for managers needing to collect data with limited funds. Such programs also meet the mandate for education and constituency building through the training and involvement of volunteers. Since 1997 sport divers have been gathering data on the fish assemblages in and around Monterey Bay as part of the Reef Environmental Education Foundationís (REEF) Fish Survey Project. To date, over 1,350 visual Roving Diver Technique surveys have been conducted on rocky reefs in this area as part of this program. These data represent a useful set of information on the fish assemblages within the Sanctuary. We used these data to describe and compare the fish assemblages among sites within the Sanctuary. We also evaluated the geographic distribution of particular species. These data are part of the larger REEF database, which includes over 80,000 surveys conducted along the coastal areas of North and Central America, the Caribbean and Hawaii, including eight National Marine Sanctuaries. Summaries of the database are available on REEFís website ( and raw data is available upon request.

Payne, Marlee and Kellyn Wong

Monterey High School, Monterey, CA Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science (MAOS), Monterey, CA

Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS), Monterey, CA

Monitoring Trends of Invertebrates in the Rocky Intertidal at Carmel Point, CA A rocky intertidal monitoring program was developed, using specific sites in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to be monitored, called Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS). With the help of Kelly Kiefer-Miller, our mentor, we have been monitoring the intertidal at Carmel Point since April 2004. At Carmel Point we hand count certain invertebrates in 5x5 quadrants along a vertical transect line and we also use a North and South plot to count the number of selected larger animals such as abalone and anemones within the defined area. By monitoring the intertidal we will discover trends in the invertebrates that can be used to detect changes in the future. Our last date to monitor is February 5th, 2005. After our data collection is complete, we will analyze the data from the past year and come to a conclusion about the trends amongst the invertebrates in the rocky intertidal of Carmel Point.

Peichel, Barbara

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Watsonville, CA

The Elkhorn Slough Tidal Wetland Plan - Integrating Monitoring and Management

The dramatic loss of Californiaís estuarine habitats emphasizes the need to strategically manage these critical ecosystems. The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is working with a wide variety of local, state, and federal partners on a collaborative planning process to conserve, enhance, and restore estuarine habitats in the Elkhorn Slough Watershed. Human actions have drastically altered hydrological processes such as the volume of tidal exchange, force of tidal currents, circulation patterns of water and sediment, and the quantity of freshwater inputs to these habitats. One result of these changes is the severe rate of tidal erosion causing the degradation of important tidal wetland habitats in Elkhorn Slough. Other wetland areas separated from tidal flow by dikes and levees may have reduced habitat function. During the course of this project, key stakeholders and experts will come together to create strategies to address the hydrological problems and build a shared vision for managing estuarine habitats in the watershed. A key component of the planning process will be to develop monitoring methods for each strategy to encourage adaptive management activities.

Pennington, J.T. (1), C.G. Castro (2), W.W. Evans IV (3), G.E. Friederich (1), R.P. Michisaki (1) and F.P. Chavez (1)

(1) MBARI, Moss Landing, CA
(2) IIM-CSIC, Vigo, Spain
(3) Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

A Carbon Budget For The Northern And Central California Coastal Upwelling System

A carbon budget for the Coastal Upwelling System (CUS) off northern and central California has been constructed. The budget derives from calculations based on the literature and time series observations in Monterey Bay and CalCOFI Line 67. Our purpose is to outline the flow of carbon in the nearshore 170 km of the California Current System between Cape Mendocino and Point Conception. Total primary production (TP) is estimated at 345 g-C/m2/y and ënewí, nitratebased production (NP) at 204 g-C/m2/y, resulting in 44 and 26 million metric tons, respectively, of carbon (POC) fixed annually and a overall mean f-ratio of 0.59. NP-based POC is exported from the CUS by sinking (32%), diffusion (13%), advection and subduction (20%). NP-POC is also grazed by zooplankton (5%) and converted to DOC (11%). Net air-sea flux of CO2 within the CUS is estimated at 1% of NP, or 2 g-C/m2/y. Except for TP, NP and CO2 flux, the budget is based on few data applied with coarse assumptions. Nevertheless, an encouraging 88% and 79% of TP and NP, respectively, are accounted for by the independently-derived estimates.

Pettigrew, Jim

Department of Geography, San Francisco State University, CA

A Removal Study of the Invasive European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas) in Tomales Bay, California

In August of 2004, we trapped and removed more than 2,900 green crabs from an 8ha intertidal estuary in southern Tomales Bay. Average catch declined from 23 crabs/trap to 14 crabs/trap in 5 days of consecutive trapping. All of the trapped crabs were frozen and later ground up using commercial food processing equipment; the resulting product was blended with wood shavings and composted. Samples of ground crab and finished compost were evaluated as organic soil amendments by a commercial agricultural laboratory, and results of nutrient analyses were compared to commonly used fertilizers of marine origin. The bathymetry of the study area was surveyed using modified level survey gear deployed from a skiff, and results were compared to the anticipated bathymetry of the Giacomini Ranch pasturelands, which will be inundated when levees are breached in forthcoming restoration efforts.

Phillips, Claire L. (1), Marc Los Huertos (1), Lowell E. Gentry (2), Carol Shennan (1)

(1) Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Farming Systems, University of California Santa Cruz
(2) Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana

Spatial and Temporal Trends in Nutrient Enrichment of Central California Coast Waterways

Agricultural and urban runoff is suspected to impair water quality of rivers and streams that discharge into the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. To determine the spatial and temporal variability of nutrient concentrations, we monitored several stream reaches within the Pajaro River and Elkhorn Slough Watersheds for dissolved NO3, NH4, and ortho-phosphate during water years 2001-2003. In both watersheds, we found dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and dissolved inorganic phosphorous (DIP) were typically low (<70 and <20 uM, respectively) in grazing lands, oak woodlands, and forests but increased downstream of row crops, nurseries, and urban areas. In the Elkhorn Slough watershed, both Carneros and Watsonville Creeks had high DIN and DIP concentrations at sampling locations just upstream of Elkhorn Slough (8-3000 uM DIN and 2-400 uM DIP in Carneros Creek; 100-6000 uM DIN and 1-500 uM DIP in Watsonville Creek). In the Pajaro River Watershed, DIN concentrations ranged from 120-1800 uM in the most uppermost reaches of the Pajaro River, due to enrichment in the upstream tributaries of the Pajaro. Water quality in Watsonville Slough and agricultural ditches along Beach Road frequency had high DIN concentrations (in excess of 4500 uM DIN). Seasonal patterns demonstrated that in perennial rivers such as the Pajaro, early winter storms tended to dilute nutrient sources, while in seasonally dry streams such as Carneros and Corralitos Creeks, early storms tended to increase nutrient loading and cause a flush of nutrients. These results are being used to help watershed groups meet agricultural discharge waiver requirements.

Plant, J., K. Johnson, J. Needoba, L. Coletti, S. Fitzwater, H. Jannasch, C. Sakamoto, and V. Elrod

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

The Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) in Elkhorn Slough

Elkhorn Slough is one of the largest coastal wetland ecosystems in California. The estuarine nature of the environment creates a temporally and spatially dynamic system. Characterizing nutrient cycles in this environment is challenging due to the physical mixing of different water masses and the biogeochemical cycling within them. In addition, technological limitations of chemical instruments as well as the time and money required for effective sampling is often difficult to achieve. The Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) is an ongoing project designed to quantify biogeochemical processes by the development and operation of an in situ sensor network. A wireless network is employed to transfer data in real-time from newly developed instrument platforms that are capable of high resolution, long-term measurements of nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, and silicic acid. The sensor network can address the practical challenges of studying complicated nutrient cycles, tidal mixing, and small-scale physical variability that are faced in coastal biogeochemical research and monitoring and is intended to demonstrate the synergies that accrue from operating a complete network of autonomous, biogeochemical sensors for extended periods.

Pyle, Peter (1), Ben Becker (2), Carol Keiper (3), Michael Carver (1), and Dan Howard (1)

(1) Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary
(2) Pacific Coast Science and Learning Center, Point Reyes National Seashore
(3) Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge

Introducing the Cordell Bank Ocean Monitoring Project (CBOMP)

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS) recently completed a Management Plan Review recommending assessment of the temporal and spatial patterns of marine mammals and birds that occur in sanctuary waters relative to ocean conditions, seasons, and biological productivity. To implement this objective, a long-term monitoring project was initiated in January 2004 using the CBNMS research vessel C. magister. We conduct monthly standard strip transect surveys over Cordell Bank, coastal-shelf and offshore-pelagic waters within 3 km of the Bank along eight transects covering 103.7 km and a trapezoidal survey area of 12.9 x 21.2 km. We follow standard strip-transect methodology to survey birds, mammals, pelagic fish, and turtles. Trained observers survey quarter-circular and semi-circular areas, of varying radii (200- 800 m), ahead and abeam of the observer's location. Observation data are binned into 1-min periods and behavior (including direction of flight) and age, sex, and morph (if determinable) are recorded. Boat activity, balloons, flotsam, Velella velella and three jellyfish species are also recorded. Krill abundance is estimated with a Simrad EK60 120Khz echo sounder and oceanic conditions are collected with a surface thermo-salinograph and CTD casts. Our primary objectives are to 1) document marine vertebrate, invertebrate, and krill variability among months, seasons, and years; 2) document the spatial variability and consistency of krill aggregations; 3) test for oceanographic forcing of krill distribution and density; and 4) test for relationships between krill density/distribution and seabird/mammal density/distributions. We intend to share data with the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing effort and be available for exchange and interpretation on the MBNMS/SIMoN web site.

Raimondi, P.T. (1), R.F. Ambrose (2), J.M. Engle (3), M. George (1), D.P. Lohse (1), C.M. Miner (1), S.N. Murray (4), C. Roe (1)

(1) University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
(2) University of California, Los Angeles, Environmental Science and Engineering Program
(3) University of California, Santa Barbara, Marine Science Institute
(4) California State University, Fullerton, Department of Biological Sciences

Long-Term Monitoring of Rocky Intertidal Communities within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

As part of a regional network of monitoring groups (MARINe-Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network) that monitors sites from San Diego, CA to Oregon, PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Study of coastal oceans) researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), have been monitoring rocky intertidal communities within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) over the past 6 years. Monitoring studies such as these yield important data about local and regional variations in populations, information which is critical for both effective resource management, and a fundamental understanding of what determines the dynamics of intertidal systems. Such monitoring provides baseline information against which the impacts of disturbances, either anthropogenic (e.g trampling, oil spills) or natural (storms, El Niño) in origin, can be assessed. The sampling protocol used by PISCO employs a variety of techniques to estimate the abundance (% cover or density), and for some motile invertebrates, the size structure of a set of target species/assemblages. These techniques are discussed in detail and data on the temporal changes in species abundances and size structure are presented for a representative site within MBNMS.

Reid, Jane A. and Nadine Golden

USGS Pacific Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA

Sediment Distributions within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Where is that Mud Belt I've Heard So Much About?

Maps and views of sediment textural information for the seafloor encourage our understanding of offshore depositional trends, benthic fauna and flora distributions, biologic and geologic resources, sediment mobility potential under varying climatic regimes, and numerous other issues. Definition of seabed character on the continental shelf within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) to date has been limited to either 'rock' or 'sediment'. Despite years of research in the regions encompassed by the MBNMS, little information about the sediment-covered areas, i.e., texture and composition, has been digitally available, and knowledge about these areas have not been well integrated. We present several views of the sediment-covered seabed within the MBNMS, including textural coverages, composition, and sediment color between Point Reyes and Point Sur. These GIS-created views and maps are based on digital data from usSEABED. usSEABED is a USGS-funded national database of integrated, standardized, and mined data from lab-based reports and numerical values derived from fuzzyset- theory-based filters passed over core, grab, and photographic descriptive data. Views show the dominant mid-shelf mud belts south of the Golden Gate and in Monterey Bay, the shorenormal dominance of fine and medium sands spilling from the Golden Gate, the medium to coarse sands north of Point Sur, and areas of pebbles and other gravels near Cordell Bank, Año Nuevo, and southwest of Half Moon Bay. Continuing work will extend the maps to Point Arena and integrate these views with existing knowledge of rocky areas, with analyses of the geologic and biological implications of these textural distributions.

Robison, Rondi (1), Scott Benson (9), Ken Bruland (2), Yi Chao (10), Francisco Chavez (5), Dan Costa (3), Don Croll (3), Andrew DeVogleare (7), Chris Edwards (2), Gary Griggs (1), Jim Harvey (8), Raphe Kudela (2), Steve Lonhart (7), Baldo Marinovic (3), Margaret McManus (2, 11), Jeff Paduan (6), Leslie Rosenfeld (6), Mary Silver (2), and John Vesecky(4)

(1) Institute of Marine Science, University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, CA
(2) Department of Ocean Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, CA
(3) Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, CA
(4) Department of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz, CA
(5) Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA
(6) Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, CA
(7) National Marine Sanctuary Monterey Bay, Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN), Monterey, CA
(8) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(9) Southwest Fisheries Science Center National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, Moss Landing, CA
(10) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, CA
(11) University of Hawaii, HI

The Center for Integrated Marine Technologies: Integrating Advanced Technologies to Understand California's Upwelling Ecosystems

The Center for Integrated Marine Technologies' (CIMT) was formed in 2002 out of the Wind to Whales Program (1996). CIMT has created a coastal ocean monitoring program that links new technologies and data across disciplines of marine science to address key questions for the management and conservation of California coastal marine resources. Specifically, CIMT is using these technologies to investigate the critical linkages among:

  • Physical forcing mechanisms
  • The availability of critical nutrients
  • The distribution, abundance and species composition of phytoplankton and zooplankton and
  • The distribution, abundance and species composition of top-level consumers including fish, seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles.

This comprehensive interdisciplinary approach will serve as a model for integrated coastal ocean observing systems and establish the scientific basis for the effective monitoring and management of coastal fisheries and protected resources, especially those of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Rosenfeld, Leslie (1), Igor Shulman (2), Michael Cook (1), Lev Shulman (1), and Jeff Paduan (1)

(1) Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
(2) Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS

Development of a Tidal Model for Central California

The ICON model, a high-resolution, data-assimilating, model of the Monterey Bay area, was initially designed for studying mesoscale features such as eddies and upwelling filaments. Tidal forcing is now being implemented into this model to facilitate short-term particle-tracking studies, and to move towards a real-time operational forecast model. Although barotropic tidal currents in this area are relatively small, they are highly spatially variable due to the complex bathymetry. The baroclinic tidal currents can be an order of magnitude larger, and contribute significantly to the kinetic energy, as well as producing a highly variable density field - thus producing challenges for data assimilating models that do not include tidal processes. Tidal forcing is introduced into the ICON model through specification of the open boundary conditions using the tidal constants interpolated from the Oregon State University Tidal Solution for the U.S. West Coast. The procedures for implementing tidal forcing are being carefully configured and tested, using the barotropic case first to evaluate the effects of different boundary conditions. The model's success in reproducing the measured bottom pressure and sea level tidal signals does not guarantee that the barotropic tidal currents are being accurately simulated. Long-term and/or depth-averaged current records from numerous locations in and around Monterey Bay are used in an attempt to characterize the barotropic tidal currents, by minimizing the contribution from internal tides. Model runs with stratification included are also being analyzed and compared to observations.

Sanders, Rex

US Geological Survey, Santa Cruz, CA

USGS Monterey Bay Knowledge Bank -

In 2004, USGS developed a web-based knowledge bank for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and associated watersheds, based on USGS knowledge about geology, biology, watersheds, and maps. We designed this knowledge bank for three primary activities—learning, accessing data, and decision making—because many users switch between those activities while searching for knowledge. The web site is composed of five tools. The News tool presents relevant articles from the USGS "Sound Waves" newsletter on coastal and marine research. The Digital Library, with a unique search interface, provides access to online information from over 500 USGS and non-USGS sources. The Field Data Catalog covers 50 years of USGS coastal and marine geology field work. The Map Server is a web-browsable GIS, displaying base maps, sonar images, bathymetry, coastal hazards, photographs, geologic maps, and other data, with links to the original data sources. The Bibliography lists selected USGS-authored publications with links to online sources if available. In creating the knowledge bank, we reused and enhanced several existing USGS web tools, with some major revisions based on user testing. is the first pilot project for a National Marine and Coastal Geology Knowledge Bank under development at USGS. We welcome feedback in order to continue, improve and maintain this knowledge bank.

Schaaf, Jayna A., Michael H. Graham, and Jon B. Geller

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Batillaria cumingi in the Flume: Density Dependent Foraging Behavior at Different Water Velocities.

Herbivorous marine snails respond to stressors such as desiccation and wave stress by modifying their foraging activity to minimize these negative effects. This study focused on the foraging rates of the estuarine prosobranch Batillaria cumingi at different water velocities. Density also influences the distribution, and hence the foraging patterns of B. cumingi. There were three main topics under investigation in this study 1) the affect of water flow on the foraging efficiency of B. cumingi, 2) the affect aggregations have on foraging, and 3) to understand the role of shell size. The data show that there is a definite trend for decreasing foraging distance as water velocity increases. The main reason for this behavior is the hydrodynamic forces involved. Understanding hydrodynamic processes allows us to conclude that water flow affects different sized individuals in different ways. Drag and torque make foraging much more difficult for snails, especially large ones. There is also a significant negative effect of water velocity on the number of turns completed by the snail during foraging. Large snails have higher energy costs due to respiration and the production of mucus, and have a higher nutrient requirement. Large snails foraged further than small snails. Small snails are less food-limited, and thus traveled less. Size, food limitation, and hydrodynamics may all interact to influence the foraging patters of snails like B. Cumingi.

Siciliano, Daria (1), Kerstin Wasson (2) and Donald C. Potts (3)

(1) Ocean Sciences Dept., University of California, Santa Cruz,
(2) Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Watsonville, CA
(3) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Dept., University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Emergent Macrophytes is a Viable Tool for Detecting Water Nutrient Enrichment in a Central California Wetland

We assessed the potential for hyperspectral remote sensing to detect nutrient enrichment in the waters of a California wetland. Elkhorn Slough has a history of changing land use and farming practices creating runoff of fertilizers into its waters. As a result, 24 water monitoring stations are sampled monthly for nitrate and other environmental parameters. To test new methods to monitor anthropogenic effects rapidly and over large scales, HyMap hyperspectral imagery (126-bands; 2.5m spatial resolution; 15nm spectral sampling) was acquired over Elkhorn Slough. The objective for this study was to determine if differing water nitrate levels could be accurately detected from spectral shifts in the canopy of the dominant wetland macrophyte, Salicornia virginica, using hyperspectral imagery. An in-situ fertilization experiment of S. virginica was concurrently carried out in one of the Slough's marshes. The experimental plots were spectrally characterized with a hand-held spectroradiometer and analyzed to identify spectral shifts in the plant canopy due to nitrate addition. The imagery was then similarly analyzed to estimate nitrate concentration from spectral shifts in the canopy of S. virginica, looking for spectral correlates to the nitrate gradient inferred from the water monitoring stations. We found a significant relationship between water nitrogen levels and two spectral indices from image spectral data at Elkhorn Slough, consistent with results from the in-situ experiment with the hand-held spectroradiometer. This experiment represents the first explicit test of the utility of hyperspectral image data to detect water nitrate in a wetland ecosystem, and has revealed the promise for this application.

Smith, Douglas P. (1,2), Melanie Vincent (1,3), Jeni McDermott (1,2,4) and Zoe Carlson (1,2)

(1) Division of Science & Environmental Policy, CSU-Monterey Bay
(2) Watershed Institute, CSUMB
(3) Monterey County Water Resources Agency
(4) Geological Sciences, UC-Santa Barbara

Sand for the Sanctuary? Quantifying Annual Sand Production in Disturbed and Less-Impaired Regions of Garrapata Watershed.

The Clean Water Act strives to vigorously reduce excess sediment in aquatic environments through the use of "best management practices" that reduce sediment delivery to streams. On the other hand, a large supply of clean sand is required to maintain beach environments, especially along the high-energy coastline of central California where coastal retreat is a chronic social issue. Quantifying sand delivery to the nearshore environment has become a key part of understanding the "delivery side" of the beach sediment budget. This study analyzes a three-year record of water and sediment discharge from Garrapata Creek (27.5 km2) and one of its impaired tributaries, Joshua Creek (5.3 km2). These streams lie immediately south of the Carmel watershed in the Santa Lucia Mountains of central CA. They are among the last remaining Steelhead bearing streams in the south/central evolutionary significant unit. Over the period of the study, the average annual flow of sediment (mostly sand and small gravel) from the Garrapata watershed was 190 m3/a (507 tonnes/a). Joshua Creek accounted for 150 m3/a (400 tonnes/a). Therefore, Joshua Creek produced 78% of the total annual sediment, yet accounts for only 19% of the Garrapata Watershed area. The extremely high sediment yield is from one poorly placed dirt road that creates a chronic sediment source from the slopes above Joshua Creek.

Smith, G. Jason, Traci Prude, Kendra Hayashi, James Novak and Kenneth Coale

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

The Alliance For Coastal Technologies (ACT) - A National Partnership Supporting Coastal Monitoring Efforts

The ACT program seeks to develop and maintain partnerships between research institutions, state and regional resource managers, and private sector companies to evaluate, share information on and foster development of innovative sensor and sensor platform technologies for the monitoring and surveillance of coastal environments. ACT was developed in 2001with encouragement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support the technological requirements of state, national and international efforts on integrated and sustained ocean and coastal observations for managing marine and coastal resources, mitigating natural hazards, safeguarding public health and safety and ensuring safe and efficient maritime transportation and commerce. ACT - Pacific Coast is headquartered at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and serves as one of seven partner institutes nationwide. The partner institutes work together to foster regional involvement and meet ACT's broad programmatic goals of providing (1) an unbiased, third-party testbed for evaluating new and developing in situ sensor and sensor platform technologies for environmental monitoring, (2) a comprehensive data and information clearinghouse on coastal observing technologies and (3) a forum for capacity building through a series of annual workshops, seminars and newsletters on specific technology topics. The poster will provide overviews on each of these activity areas. We encourage everyone to get involved with the ACT program and regional Ocean Observing System (OOS) activities in general.

Starr, R.M. (1, 2), E.J. Burton (3), A. Greenley (2), R.N. Lea (4), J. de Marignac (3), E. Morris (2), and M.M. Yoklavich (5)

(1) University of California Sea Grant Program, Moss Landing, CA
(2) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
(3) Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA
(4) California Department of Fish and Game, Monterey, CA
(5) National Marine Fisheries Service, CA

Rocky Shelf Fish Surveys in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

In August 2004, we surveyed demersal fishes in rocky shelf habitats (60-165 m) off the Monterey Peninsula and Point Sur using the Delta submersible. Our goals were to: 1) identify species composition, size composition, and relative abundance of demersal fishes off Point Pinos and identify changes that occurred since surveys in 1993 and 2003; 2) intensively sample high-relief rocky habitats (75-90 m), and low-relief rocky habitats (90-120 m), off Point Pinos to determine the number of submersible transects needed to detect significant changes in species composition and relative abundance of fishes at various levels of predictability; and 3) gather information to compare future changes in species composition, size composition, and relative abundance of demersal fishes in rocky habitats (75-120 m) off Point Sur. We completed 49 dives comprised of 144 transects. Here, we report preliminary observations. Species diversity was greater, and large rockfish species were more numerous and larger in size off Point Sur than off Point Pinos. Relative abundance of small lingcod, bocaccio, and canary rockfish off Point Pinos was greater in 2004 than 1993. Deeper (90-120 m) low-relief rocky habitats off both Point Pinos and Point Sur contained more large rockfishes than shallower (70-90 m) high-relief rocky areas. Shallow highrelief rocky areas had lower species diversity than deep low-relief rocky habitats off Point Pinos. Our results demonstrate how submersible surveys conducted over time, using similar standardized methods, can be used to detect changes in faunal communities in the MBNMS.

Storlazzi, Curt and Dana Wingfield

US Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Geology Team, USGS Pacific Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA

Spatial and Temporal Variability in Oceanographic and Meteorologic Forcing Along Central California and its Implications on Nearshore Processes

In the past two decades, our understanding of the important large-scale phenomena (El Niño, upwelling, California current, etc) that drive physical, chemical, and biological processes along the US West Coast has greatly improved. However, our ability to predict the influence of annual and inter-annual events on a regional scale still remains limited. High-resolution hourly data from 8 NOAA buoys deployed since the early 1980's off Central California were analyzed to improve our understanding of spatial and temporal variability of oceanographic and meteorologic forcing along the coastline. Seasonal to inter-annual trends in wave height, wave period, sealevel barometric pressure, sea-surface temperature, and wind direction were identified, as were significant departures in these trends during El Niño and La Niña periods. The results suggest there are increasing wave heights and wave periods, decreasing sea-level barometric pressures and variability in sea-surface temperatures, and increasingly variable winds off Central California over the past two decades. The impact of these climatic trends on coastal physical, geological and biologic processes will also be addressed.

Sullivan, Deidre (1, 3) and Jill Zande (1, 2)

(1) Monterey Peninsula College
(2) NOAA's Teacher in the Air Program (3) Oregon State University

Coastal Erosion Measured from LIDAR Surveys along Del Monte Beach in Monterey, California

The coastal environment is continually changing as a result of storms, currents, sea-level rise, sediment budgets, and coastal development. LIght Detection And Ranging (LIDAR), which makes use of a scanning laser mounted in a small aircraft, can help document this change by rapidly and accurately surveying beach elevations. This study examined LIDAR data to determine the extent of coastal erosion and accretion that occurred along Del Monte Beach in Monterey, California before and after the 1997-98 El Niño winter and compare this to the erosion and accretion that occurred between spring 1998 and spring 2004. Erosion during the 1997-98 El Niño winter was greater than the cumulative effects of the following six years. In comparing beach profiles generated from LIDAR data, there was a significant landward retreat of the face of the first coastal dune during the El Niño winter. A 30 m tall dune at the northern end of the study site retreated 15 m during the 1997-98 winter, but has not changed since that time. The dune in front of the Ocean Harbor View Condominiums retreated 4 m during the 1997-98 winter and another 2 m since that time. Monterey's coastal dunes are eroding. Two large structures, a hotel and a condominium complex, are in jeopardy. To add to this grim situation, the occurrence of "hundred-year" storms may be increasing. When large storm waves erode coastal dunes there is no natural mechanism to rebuild the dunes except extreme climate change over thousands of years.

Thayer, J. A., R. Bradley, P. Warzybok and D. Gardner

Marine Ecology Division, PRBO Conservation Science, Stinson Beach, CA

Marine Bird Breeding Population Trends in Central California: Ups and Downs Over Three Decades

The Farallon Islands near the continental shelf-break off central California host the largest seabird community in the continental U.S. Breeding seabird populations at this offshore island, however, have exhibited sizeable declines over the last 30 years. Conversely, in recent decades seabird populations on inshore islands have increased in size and several new coastal colonies have formed and grown rapidly. New Brandt's Cormorant and Rhinoceros and Cassin's Auklet colonies formed on Año Nuevo Island. A new Brandt's Cormorant colony also formed on Alcatraz Island, one of only two estuarine colony locations known for this species. Populations of Western Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants and Pigeon Guillemots also increased inshore. Ocean climate change and varying prey species and distribution likely contributed to these offshore declines and nearshore increases in breeding seabirds. Specifically, the central California Current System experienced warmer than average oceanographic conditions from the late 1970s until the late 1990s. Additionally, seabirds in this region preyed largely on rockfish in the 1970s and 1980s, but in the 1990s diet switched to anchovy, a species that occurs primarily inshore. Starting in 2001 - 2002, offshore declines have reversed for many seabird species, likely due to cooler ocean conditions and a resurgence of rockfish and other prey. In 2004, birds born during the 2001-2002 period began recruiting into the breeding population, resulting in another notable population increase.

Thayer, Julie A. (1,2), and William J. Sydeman (1)

(1) Marine Ecology Division, PRBO Conservation Science
(2) Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, CA

Food Web Dynamics Revealed by Predator-Based Sampling in Central California Marine Sanctuaries

Currently, ocean managers are faced with a daunting challenge to monitor marine ecosystem dynamics in near real time. In almost all ecosystems, long-term monitoring of mid trophic level forage species is particularly difficult and expensive, yet critical to understanding and managing top predators (marine fish, birds, and mammals) that hold great public interest and are of high commercial value. In the central California Current System, krill, squid, coastal pelagics, and 0- age-class predatory fish are key forage species, but little is known of their population dynamics. Conventional shipboard net sampling is costly and may provide inconsistent results due to the patchy distributions and/or net avoidance of these organisms. Predator-Based Sampling (PBS), however, may provide a reliable and cost-effective means of assessing these key forage species. We propose to augment and enhance long-term studies of predator diets to track dynamics of krill, market squid, sardine, anchovy, and juvenile rockfish, salmon and flatfish in central California using a suite of marine birds and Chinook salmon as our sampling devices. It has been well-documented that seabirds and salmon are reliable indicators of rockfish recruitment in this region. We are in the process of calibrating PBS indices using a variety of existing datasets (CalCOFI, NMFS Rockfish, etc.) to understand how fluctuations in diet composition or size of prey in the predator diets, for example, reflect changes of organisms in the environment.

Tran, Evelyn and Kyle Gonzalez

Monterey High School, Monterey, CA

Monitoring Quality of Water in Local Streams Flowing from Monterey to the Bay

As a two person project, the independent water quality monitoring internship requires a weekly excursion to four selected sites: the Hartnell Gulch near the Monterey Public Library, the unnamed stream adjacent to Whole Foods in Del Monte shopping center, the underground conduit behind Bay Park Hotel on the corner of Soledad and Munras, and Lake El Estero across from Del Monte Beach. The internship aims not only to track the flow of water from the uppermost site (hotel conduit) to the site closest to the bay (lake), but also to discover the changes in water quality from place to place and from season to season. This basic map will provide information on how human usage affects the bay and its inhabitants. Our equipment, furnished by Vernier, measures dissolved oxygen levels, ammonium, chlorinity, and nitrate levels, phosphate amounts, and pH. With these parameters we hope to accomplish our ultimate goal of raising awareness of urban pollution that can indirectly harm humans as well as the environment. So far, we have noticed a trend in our data, but it is not official yet. We are currently collecting samples and expect to have analytical results in February.

Wagner, G. and N. Welschmeyer

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

Effects of Entrainment and Thermal Increase on Bacteria and Phytoplankton in the Moss Landing

Power Plant: What Blooms in the Plume? Seawater from Moss Landing Harbor is pumped through Moss Landing Power Plant for cooling purposes (4.56 billion L/day); the heated seawater is discharged into Monterey Bay. To evaluate potential effects on plankton, samples were collected along the cooling flow path from the intake source, through the power plant, to the final discharge site in Monterey Bay. Maximum temperatures (27.2ºC; roughly 13ºC above ambient) were measured in the surge chamber where water collects in the power plant before being discharged into the Bay. Surface water directly over the Monterey Bay discharge site was ca. 4ºC warmer than ambient Bay water. Bacterial abundance (DAPI stained direct counts) was similar at all sampling sites. However, bacterial growth activity (culture plating and frequency of dividing cells) was significantly higher (3x) for surge chamber samples. Phytoplankton biomass, estimated from algal pigments, was variable along the sampling track, with lowest concentrations generally found in the surge chamber. Phytoplankton physiological state (fluorescence-based photochemical yield) was lowest in the surge chamber, reflecting values similar to heat-stressed laboratory samples. Phytoplankton pigment degradation products were also highest at the surge chamber site. The results suggest differential effects of entrainment on plankton: bacterial growth is augmented after thermal entrainment, but phytoplankton are negatively impacted.

Watson, S.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS)

The Central California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) is a developing regional system and part of the national ocean observing system, the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). CeNCOOS is a synergistic collaboration of approximately 55 academic/research institutions, private corporations, and public agencies, ranging geographically along the coast from Point Conception to the California-Oregon border. The mission of CeNCOOS is to coordinate and support the development and implementation of a regional ocean observing system, as part of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System, which provides data and data products to a diversity of end users on spatial and temporal scales appropriate for their needs. To accomplish this mission, with funding from NOAA's Coastal Services Center, CeNCOOS has been conducting a summary of ocean observing activities in the region, developing a Memorandum of Agreement among partner entities, a business plan that clearly identifies stakeholders and their needs, a pilot project showcasing data integration across CeNCOOS partners, a website with a data portal (with MBNMS SIMoN), and other outreach materials. The summary includes information (including spatial data) on 88 observing activities, the CeNCOOS partner list has increased from 30 to 55, 15 meetings involving stakeholders have been held on issues ranging from data management to stakeholder engagement, and 55 visits with stakeholders have been accomplished. CeNCOOS is still in its planning stages, but should be certified as a functioning regional ocean observing system by the IOOS oversight office, Ocean.US, by 2007.

Welschmeyer, Nick (1), Lawrence Younan (1) and Kevin Yurus (2)

(1) Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing CA
(2) Monterey Academy of Ocean Sciences (MAOS), Monterey High School, Monterey CA

Microbial Ecology of Elkhorn Slough: Relation to Inorganic/Organic Nutrients

Weekly sampling over two years has now established a persistent division in the phytoplankton community of Elkhorn Slough. The lower half of the slough is dominated by coastal phytoplankton representative of the source waters in Monterey Bay. The upper half of the slough is uniquely dominated by cryptophytes (up to 75% of the total phytoplankton biomass). Here we present new data showing strong parallels between cryptophytes and the distribution of planktonic/benthic anoxygenic bacteria. The anoxygenic, autotrophic bacteria, tracked by their unique pigment, bacteriochlorophyll a, are almost exclusively limited to the upper half of Elkhorn Slough, matching the distribution of cryptophytes. Surprisingly, sediment-derived samples, from the shallow intertidal mudflats, also show a 20-fold decrease in the concentration of bacteriochlorophyll a as one approaches Monterey Bay. We examined trends in inorganic nutrient chemistry to explore possible links to watershed nutrient drainage and cryptophyte/anoxygenic bacteria distributions. Highest concentrations of nitrate (>200um, indicative of agricultural drainage) were limited to the lower section of Elkhorn Slough, near Moss Landing Harbor. In contrast, the upper slough nutrients were characterized by low N/P ratios often <2 (mole/mole), substantially less than expected from traditional Redfield ratios (ca. 16). This suggests high rates of bacterial denitrification in the upper slough. Examination of dissolved organic matter (DOM) by fluorescent excitation/emission mapping showed ten-fold increases in water-column DOM concentrations in the upper slough, relative to lower slough. It appears the pattern in phytoplankton distribution may be linked to strong microbial influences, with dissolved organic nutrients, not inorganic nutrients, providing a principle link.

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