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Sanctuary Currents 2009
Back to the Future: Preserving the Sanctuary by Exploring Its Past

General Info & Program | Session Abstracts | Ricketts Lecture | MBNMS Awards | Exhibitors
Research Posters & Awards | 2009 Symposium Poster (PDF)

Research Poster Session: Awards, Abstracts, and PDFs

 

Research 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


2009 Best Graduate Student Poster

Freiwald, J.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

DENSITY-DEPENDENT CHANGE IN HOME RANGE SIZE OF A TEMPERATE REEF FISH, THE KELP GREENLING


2009 Honorable Mention: Graduate Student Posters

Figurski, J.

Center for Ocean Health, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

THE DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE, AND DYNAMICS OF DRIFT ALGAE WITHIN KELP FOREST ECOSYSTEMS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA


Watson, J. (1), J. Lindholm (1), R. Starr (2), F. Watson (1), and A. Guzman (1)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. University of California Sea Grant Extension Program, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

USING ECOVIZ TO DEPICT BLUE ROCKFISH (SEBASTES MYSTINUS) MOVEMENTS IN THE CARMEL BAY STATE MARINE CONSERVATION AREA


2009 Best Undergraduate Student Poster

Direen, R.E., J.M. Frame, J. Galvan, G.M. Gonzalez, A. Hall, C.R. Hosler, A.M. Jones, M.R. Sandersfeld, K.J. Stoner, and K.R. Wrubel

California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

ELKHORN SLOUGH: COMING OR GOING? REMOTE SENSING TIME SERIES TRACKS TIDAL SCOUR AND HABITAT CHANGE IN A NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE


2009 Best High School Student Poster

Mallet, I.

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

SALMONIDS BY THE NUMBERS: A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF SAN LORENZO RIVER POPULATIONS


2009 Honorable Mention: High School Student Poster

Dolson, E.L., and C.E. Bentley

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES ON THE CALIFORNIA SEA OTTER (ENHYDRA LUTRIS NEREIS) POPULATION


Research Poster Session Abstracts and PDFs


Andrews, A.H. (1), R.P. Stone (2), C.C. Lundstrom (3), and A.P. DeVogelaere (4)

  1. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Auke Bay Laboratories, Juneau, AK
  3. Department of Geology, University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL
  4. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

AGE AND GROWTH OF THREE BAMBOO CORAL SPECIES FROM THE NORTHEASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN (240 KB PDF)

Bamboo corals (Family: Isididae) are common deep-water inhabitants of continental slopes and seamounts of the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. They are extremely fragile, relatively large, and have a patchy distribution; three attributes that make them particularly vulnerable to disturbance from fishing gear. Age and growth was determined using lead-210 dating for colonies collected from Davidson Seamount off California and the Gulf of Alaska. Radiometric results for both of the Davidson Seamount corals (Keratoisis sp.) converged on a radial growth rate of approximately 0.055 mm·yr-1. For the smaller of the two colonies (~70 cm tall), the age was 98 ± 3 years with an average axial growth rate of approximately 0.7 cm·yr-1. A minimum age of 145 years (upper limit of 450 years) was determined for the largest colony; an irregular shape and height precluded use of the full colony to calculate an axial growth rate, but based on one major branch length the axial growth rate was lower than expected and ranged between 0.09 and 0.24 cm yr-1. Differences in the axial growth rates between the two colonies may indicate nonlinear growth with increasing colony height. From the Gulf of Alaska, a Keratoisis sp. colony (120 cm tall) was aged at 116 ± 13 years with an average axial growth rate of 1.03 cm·yr-1 (0.93-1.16 cm·yr-1, 2 SE). The radial growth rate was similar to the Davidson Seamount Keratoisis sp. (D group) at 0.056 mm yr-1. An Isidella tentaculum colony (72 cm tall) was aged at 53 ± 4 years. Of the corals studied here, this colony grew most rapidly with a radial growth rate of 0.099 mm·yr-1 and an average axial growth rate of 1.32 cm·yr-1 (1.23-1.46 cm·yr-1, 2 SE). Our findings of slow growth rates and high longevity compare favorably to those determined for bamboo corals from other regions of the Pacific Ocean and highlight the need for immediate conservation measures to protect these important members of deep-sea ecosystems.


Aranda, M. (1,2), K. Armintrout (1,2), B. Collazo (1,2), E. Ortiz (1,2), and R. Valentino (1,2)

  1. Pajaro Valley High School, Watsonville, CA
  2. WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) Program, Monterey Bay Aquarium

THE PLASTIC CHALLENGE: CURING STUDENTS' LACK OF KNOWLEDGE TOWARDS MARINE DEBRIS (268 KB PDF)

Marine debris endangers sea creatures and harms habitats on our beaches around the world. Our group decided to focus on marine debris, specifically the most common type, plastic. We wanted to find a way to educate our peers about how marine debris/plastic not only affects our animals but also our beaches and how we can change our ways. Being part of an environmentally friendly school and being surrounded by the wetlands of Watsonville we can see a link between the trash we dispose of and how it ends up in our oceans. With our mentor, George Matsumoto, an Education Research Specialist from MBARI, we came up with a protocol to collect data from local beaches. We then used it as evidence of how we are impacting the ocean and how we are responsible for what we found on our beaches. We then wanted to present this data to our classmates. In order to better present this information we first decided to see through a pre-survey what our fellow peers know about marine debris. After we analyzed our feedback we created a presentation to meet the needs of our audience. Once the presentations to the various advisory classes are done, we then will distribute a post-survey to the same students who took the pre-survey and listened to our power point presentation. This will show us how well we did in communicating our message to them. We hope with the guidance we provided to our peers, they will show a better understanding of what impacts their actions have and the importance of their choices to all of us.


Bell, C., P.T. Raimondi, M. George, and K. Ammann

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

ASSESSING THE AMOUNT OF SUITABLE HABITAT AND THE POPULATION SIZE OF BLACK ABALONE WITHIN THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY (204 KB PDF)

The black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) has experienced mass mortalities along the coast of California since the mid-1980s and is now listed under the USA Endangered Species Act. Mortality is due to poaching and a fatal wasting disease called "withering syndrome". Working with MARINe (Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network) and PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) monitoring groups we have documented their decline along the California coast. We currently sample abalone populations at 26 sites from Point Conception to Halfmoon Bay. The last extant large and healthy populations exist in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary- their area of ecological viability. To assess change in populations and size structure we initially established sites where abalone occurred in relatively high densities. However, this design is unsuitable for estimating population size. To rectify this we designed a study to estimate the population size and to determine the amount of suitable habitat available to black abalone in their area of ecological viability. We sampled areas for black abalone and also characterized the quality of habitat suitable for abalone occupation. Additionally, we used a gradient of sample areas away from an area of known suitable habitat (a current sampling site—was the center of the gradient) and found that suitable habitat is not spatially clustered. We also found strong correlation between the quality of habitat and the density of abalone. Our data can be applied to further studies that will aim to estimate the entire population and aid in the recovery of black abalone.


Benet, D., M. Carr, A. Macleod, D. Malone, and A. Reynaga

Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

BASELINE MONITORING OF KELP FOREST ECOSYSTEMS IN THE CALIFORNIA CENTRAL COAST MARINE PROTECTED AREA NETWORK

In 2007 the California Department of Fish and Game as part of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative created a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) along the Central Coast of California. An essential requirement both for the evaluation and eventual adaptive management of this MPA network will be data collected on the response of individual species and entire ecosystems to reductions in fishing pressure. Aside from documenting the validity of marine reserves as a resource management strategy, and demonstrating their conservation potential tools for ecosystem based management, this monitoring data will allow us an unprecedented opportunity to study how, when the influence of fishing is removed, long term shifts natural ecosystems may be occurring as a result of climate change. At the inception of the Central Coast MPA network, several key ecosystem types were identified as being likely to respond to MPA protection. Baseline monitoring programs were begun in each of these ecosystems to describe their attributes (i.e., community structure, abundance and size structure of key populations) in their initial "fished" state, and to allow future comparisons of MPA effects. We will describe one component of this monitoring effort, near-shore SCUBA surveys in the kelp forest ecosystem, for which two years of baseline data have been collected in 2007 and 2008. This will include a description of how these surveys are conducted, what types of data are being collected, the rationale for focusing on particular types of data, and some initial data characterizing kelp forest communities in the Central Coast MPA network.


Bickert, R.E., and K.M. Van Wandelen

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

SEABRIGHT BEACH PROFILE (128 KB PDF)

Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz, California is characterized by a large sandy shore bordered on the west by the San Lorenzo River and the east by the Santa Cruz Harbor jetty. The river, a source of sand, and jetty, which blocks littoral transport, influence the structure of Seabright Beach. The objective of monitoring the profile of Seabright Beach is to determine whether the beach's profile will respond to the changing wave, season, and climate conditions as it has in previous years. The hypothesis is that the beach will follow the trends from previous years, of a gentle slope in the winter and a steeper slope in the summer. The field materials used are wind and temperature gauges, brass 2X hand level, rod level and fiberglass metric stadia rod. The beach is surveyed every two meters in distance from North to South until the ocean is reached. The profile data is cumulated and graphed. So far, the results have supported the hypothesis. As climate changes, it will be interesting to see if the Seabright Beach profile maintains it predictability.


Carrion, C. (1), B. Marinovic (1), D. Croll (1), S. Ralston (2), K. Baltz (2), and K. Sakuma (2)

  1. Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Santa Cruz, CA

SPATIAL/TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN KEY PREY SPECIES WITHIN THE NEARSHORE ZONE OF THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST

Data are presented for temporal spatial patterns of abundance for several key forage species within the Central California nearshore pelagic ecosystem for 2003-2007. Samples were collected during the SWFSC-NMFS's annual spring midwater trawl survey along several onshore offshore transects ranging from Piedras Blancas in the south to Pt Reyes in the north. Taxa analyzed included euphausiids (krill), market squid, anchovies and sardines. There were significant differences in both spatial and interannual patterns of abundance between 2003 and 2007 with the lowest overall abundances associated with 2005 and 2006, though this pattern varied between different transects.


Castorena, J. (1,2), R. Lopez (1,2), E. Martinez (1,2), B. Mora (1,2), and D. Porraz (1,2)

  1. Pajaro Valley High School, Watsonville, CA
  2. WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) Program, Monterey Bay Aquarium

RESOURCE CONSUMPTION: A PROBLEM STUDENTS CAN CHANGE (208 KB PDF)

Have you ever stopped, looked around, and wondered, "How much of our resources am I using and wasting?" Our group has. As part of W.A.T.C.H. (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) five of us are researching how students at Pajaro Valley High use energy, water and gasoline in their everyday lives. We think that it's important for people to understand their impact on the environment so that they realize what actions they can do to help. Our resources of energy, water and gasoline are extremely limited. Therefore we need to take care of them as much as we possibly can. We will try to figure out how much of our resources are used monthly and how much we can reduce that. Our group cares about this problem because the world's resources are running out fast. This problem is affecting our Earth and we need to do something about it. With the help of our mentor, Linda Kuhnz, a Senior Research Technician at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, we are going to present our data to the students at Pajaro Valley High. We will give them information on how to save our resources, and hopefully we will see them change their behavior and save resources at the same time. We hope students will not depend on resources as much as they used to. We need to educate the next generation on how to save resources. It's essential!


Cebada, A. (1,2), R. Flores (1,2), and M. Perez (1,2)

  1. Pajaro Valley High School, Watsonville, CA
  2. WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) Program, Monterey Bay Aquarium

AGRICULTURE'S IMPACT ON US AND THE ENVIRONMENT (328 KB PDF)

Did you know that our food has been destroying the world for the last 200 to 300 years? Conventional farming is a relatively new method of agriculture that really only began right before the Industrial Revolution of the 1800's and again in the Green Revolution after World War I. However, organic and resource based agriculture has actually been around since the beginning time. With our project our ultimate goal is to educate the students of our school, Pajaro Valley High, about the detrimental effects that conventional agriculture can have on our local environment and community as opposed to more sustainable organic methods. A change in what the students consume and how they view their produce is what we hope to see. The majority of them do not realize that much of the produce they eat is not really grown but manufactured, and that it can have a negative effect on their health. In order to convey this successfully we have done wide-range research on all aspects of conventional and organic agriculture to find the impacts on humans. In addition, we have tested water in our local sloughs to create a connection on the impacts on the environment. In order to simulate sustainable resource-based agriculture we have established a small-scale garden on our campus with awesome results. With our success there is still a chance that the people can go back to sustainable farming methods to secure the health of our future generations and planet.


Cheriton, O.M (1), M.A. McManus (2), and E. McPhee-Shaw (3)

  1. PISCO, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  3. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

A DECADE IN CARMEL BAY: RESOLVING THE COMPLEX PHYSICAL STRUCTURE AND FLOW PATTERNS IN A SMALL, ECOLOGICALLY IMPORTANT BAY (1.2 MB PDF)

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 19 Marine Protected Areas, 4 of which are located within and around Carmel Bay. Since 1999 the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), in collaboration with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, has maintained an oceanographic mooring in Stillwater Cove, in the northern part of Carmel Bay, CA. This mooring collects 2-min measurements of temperature and current velocity throughout the water column. This near continuous, 10-year time series indicates that internal waves are common features and water temperature is strongly governed by offshore wind patterns. An additional Carmel Bay field study in Aug 2008 collected physical and optical measurements with an Acrobat towed vehicle as well as current velocity measurements from an acoustic Doppler current profiler deployed in the southern part of the bay. The long-term dataset from Stillwater Cove, coupled with the focused 2008 survey reveal that, despite its relatively small size, Carmel Bay experiences a complex, tidally-driven flow regime. In addition, strong horizontal salinity gradients are often present. Therefore, despite its small size, physical conditions may vary substantially along the nearshore perimeter of Carmel Bay.


Chesus, K.A., and J.K.C. Coker

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

PHYTOPLANKTON ABUNDANCE AND DIVERSITY IN SANTA CRUZ HARBOR (124 KB PDF)

Through this project, we hope to determine the most favorable conditions for phytoplankton biodiversity and abundance in Santa Cruz Harbor, California. We believe these conditions to include a high tide, low turbidity (cloudy), and temperatures below fourteen degrees Celsius. Twice a month, we collect a sample of phytoplankton from the harbor using a 20 um mesh net and record various environmental factors, such as temperature, salinity, and turbidity. We analyze the samples with a compound microscope to identify species and determine abundance. We then graph our data to discover and document patterns between phytoplankton biodiversity, abundance, and abiotic water conditions. Given that some species are toxin producers, we also send our data to the California Department of Health for their Biotoxin Monthly Report. We do not yet have sufficient data to discover any noticeable correlations to our hypothesis. Once sufficient data is obtained, we may be able to use it to predict the occurrence of phytoplankton blooms and possible red tides. This project was made possible by: Gregg Langlois and the California Department of Health, Susan Coale of University of California Santa Cruz, and Jane Orbuch of San Lorenzo Valley High School.


Choy, S.J. (1), E.J. Burton (1), A.P. DeVogelaere (1), J. Barry (2), L. Lundsten (2), and C.R. McClain (3)

  1. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA
  2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA
  3. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, Durham, NC

MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY EXPANDS TO INCLUDE DAVIDSON SEAMOUNT: OPPORTUNITIES FOR APPLIED RESEARCH AND EDUCATION IN A NEW MARINE PROTECTED AREA (1.5 MB PDF)

The Davidson Seamount is now part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Located 128 km (80 statute miles) southwest of Monterey, Davidson Seamount rises 2,280 m (7,480 ft) above the surrounding ocean floor, measures 42 km (26 statute miles) in length, and yet remains some 1,250 m (4,101 ft) below the sea surface. The inclusion of Davidson Seamount to the MBNMS represents a new and unique opportunity for applied seamount research in a new marine protected area (MPA).

The Davidson Seamount is one of the best-studied seamounts in the world. As a result, there is a wealth of existing information regarding habitat types, marine fauna, geology, and bathymetry of a pristine marine ecosystem, all documented by a wide variety of media. For example, a guide of 237 taxa has recently been completed for the area. In addition, the MBNMS has released an Action Plan for the Davidson Seamount Management Zone (DSMZ), which mirrors the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Research and Management Strategic Plan. The DSMZ Action Plan outlines research and conservation objectives, thus providing a launch pad for applied seamount research and novel research questions. The MBNMS is developing resources to support research, as well as programs for outreach and education to highlight research findings to the public. So come to the Davidson Seamount for all of your research needs and seamount education material—we're officially open for business.


Choy, S.J., A.P. DeVogelaere, and S.I. Lonhart

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

MOSS LANDING POWER PLANT THERMAL OUTFALL STUDIES (2 MB PDF)

The Moss Landing Power Plant (MLPP) began operation in 1950. The natural gas-fired power plant generates 2,560 megawatts of electricity, enough to provide power for 2.5 million homes. Cooling operations are vital to the safe functioning of the power plant (one of California's largest), and require large quantities of ocean water for thermal regulation. Seawater is taken in through intake structures located in Moss Landing Harbor, routed through the MLPP, and finally discharged into Monterey Bay via two outflow pipes extending 200m offshore. Discharge into the Monterey Bay is estimated to be 4.56 billion liters (120 millions gallons) per day. As a consequence of cooling operations, water exiting the outflow pipes are generally warmer than ambient ocean water, resulting in what is known as thermal outfall.

This poster presents an overview of research projects initiated to understand the impacts of the MLPP thermal outfall on local marine fauna, and the broader environmental implications of the thermal discharge. It is possible that because the thermal outfall is located at the head of the Monterey Canyon and at the mouth of the Elkhorn Slough, thermal impacts are minimal.


Cortez-Ramirez, F. (1,2), J. Magaña (1,2), D. Navarro (1,2), L. Ramos (1,2), and C. Vega (1,2)

  1. Pajaro Valley High School, Watsonville, CA
  2. WATCH (Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats) Program, Monterey Bay Aquarium

WATER QUALITY OF THE WATSONVILLE SLOUGHS (304 KB PDF)

Our project is to figure out how agricultural and urban runoffs affect Watsonville's local slough system. The watershed is an important part of coastal communities. Our wetlands are home to various plants and organisms and they act as a filter to absorb the contaminants that go into the sloughs. Our group did fieldwork, testing the water quality of three sloughs in Watsonville; Harkins Slough, West Struve and Struve Slough. With the help of our mentor, Josh Plant from MBARI, we analyzed the data that we collected to find factors that may be affecting the water quality of the sloughs. We checked for healthy concentrations of phosphates, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, temperature and pH. With the information we collected the question raised is can we change how people look and think of the sloughs and can we change what actions they take that affect the wetlands?


Direen, R.E., J.M. Frame, J. Galvan, G.M. Gonzalez, A. Hall, C.R. Hosler, A.M. Jones, M.R. Sandersfeld, K.J. Stoner, and K.R. Wrubel

California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

ELKHORN SLOUGH: COMING OR GOING? REMOTE SENSING TIME SERIES TRACKS TIDAL SCOUR AND HABITAT CHANGE IN A NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE (3.9 MB PDF)

Home to over 340 bird species, a designated National Estuarine Research Reserve, and one of the few remaining coastal wetlands in California, the Elkhorn Slough has been under increasing assault from tidal scour since the opening of the Moss Landing Harbor mouth in 1946. Previous studies beginning in 1988 have documented rapid and accelerating rates of tidal flow, erosion and habitat loss along the main channel, and a variety of management actions are now being considered by the Reserve. The purpose of this research is to determine whether, in the absence of any direct management intervention to date, the slough is approaching "equilibrium", or if habitat loss and change are continuing unabated. Our approach has been to extend the CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab's bi-annual high-resolution bathymetric and video mapping time series of the main channel begun in 2001 to quantify changes in the spatial distribution of erosion, benthic habitat, biotic cover and invasive species. For 2009, new and novel mapping technologies were employed to increase survey coverage, efficiency and accuracy, including vessel-mounted topographic LIDAR for mapping the marsh and intertidal at low tide, wide-swath hull-mounted interferometric sidescan sonar for mapping the subtidal at high tide, and an acoustically tracked remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for obtaining precisely georeferenced seafloor video imagery along the thalweg. The 2009 data are now being compared to those from 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007 using DEM subtraction in GIS, and video analysis, with the results ready for dissemination in April at the upcoming Sanctuary Currents Symposium.


Dolson, E.L., and C.E. Bentley

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

ANTHROPOGENIC INFLUENCES ON THE CALIFORNIA SEA OTTER (ENHYDRA LUTRIS NEREIS) POPULATION (2.2 MB PDF)

The California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) has been highly endangered since being nearly hunted to extinction one hundred years ago by fur traders. The population is taking far longer to recover than predicted. As the sea otter is a keystone species in the kelp forest ecosystem, it is crucial to understand what factors are inhibiting its population's increase. Human impacts, though widely suspected, have not been closely examined. The purpose of this project is to determine what effects, if any, humans have on sea otter well-being and what behavioral changes occur in sea otters when humans approach them. The hypothesis is, if approached, sea otters would dive and swim away, thus inhibiting the thermoregulative abilities which are essential for survival. An important corollary hypothesis is that humans would approach sea otters, even though it is illegal. Sea otters in various locations along California's coast were observed over a duration of fourteen months, using a time-budget methodology to insure that results were statistically comparable. Every ten minutes, the location and activity levels of all otters were recorded, along with a variety of other factors that could affect sea otter behavior. Human interactions were noted as new entries, allowing comparison of alterations in group dynamics. These results allowed us to extrapolate on findings from previous research. Our results suggest that a reexamination of current laws may be in order to more effectively protect otters and that humans are likely to affect otter behavior.


Engle, E.L., and Q.D. Rogers

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

BIOMONITORING: WATER QUALITY OF THE SAN LORENZO RIVER AT HENRY COWELL STATE PARK (120 KB PDF)

Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates (BMI's), we are able to monitor the quality and health of waterways without the use of chemical tests. Since each BMI has a different level of water quality tolerance, they can indirectly indicate watershed health. For example, Caddisfly larvae indicate good water quality; this is because they have low tolerance for stress such as nitrate levels, oxygenation and temperature changes. For this project, we collected samples of BMI's in September of 2008 from the San Lorenzo River at Henry Cowell State Park in Santa Cruz County, California. The San Lorenzo River has a history of increased nitrate and sediment levels along with low summer flow rates as documented in TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) filed under the Clean Water Act. Using stereo microscopes, we began classifying the BMI's into separate groups based upon three levels of taxonomy: order, family and subfamily. The richness and abundance of BMIs will indirectly indicate the river's water quality. For our project, we hypothesize that the San Lorenzo River has good water quality. Although our results are yet to be determined, we have noticed an abundance of Caddisfly and other aquatic beetles, which would lead us to believe that the San Lorenzo River is in good to moderate health.


Epel, D., J. Hodin, and P. Miller

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

ENGAGING STUDENTS USING LIVE AND VIRTUAL SEA URCHIN EMBRYOLOGY LABS (204 KB PDF)

Gametes of sea urchins yield exceptional experiences in the classroom; teachers and students alike are riveted by being able to observe fertilization, cell division and embryonic development. The goal of this Stanford University NSF project is to make these remarkable embryos readily accessible through development of inquiry based lessons, available on an open access website. Students can then move beyond the early embryo, and explore how scientists study sea urchins to understand larval development and metamorphosis, community ecology, pollution in the marine environment, and biological evolution. Teachers for high school and introductory college classes will find full support for theses labs at www.stanford.edu/group/Urchin.

The Virtual Urchin NSF project (posted at virtualurchin.stanford.edu) complements the first Stanford Sea Urchin Embryology project, supports understanding of central biology concepts and promotes development of essential lab skills. Inquiry-based lab experiences that may be difficult to conduct within the typical classroom become possible in this virtual setting. Modules include Microscopy Tutorial, Fertilization & Development with interactive lab bench experiments, Microscope Measurement, Urchin Anatomy, Predator Prey, Microscope and Specimen Compare, and Ocean Acidification.


Epel, D., J. Hodin, and P. Miller

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

INQUIRY TO INSIGHT: AN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE COLLABORATION (304 KB PDF)

The Inquiry-2-Insight project is collaboration between Stanford University and Goteborg University in Sweden. I-2-I pairs high school biology classes in California and Sweden through a social networking, web-based exchange to investigate environmental problems. Environmental issues illustrate how local action can have international implications, and direct student-to-student communication is a way to help students see the problems from differing points of view. The sister schools are using inquiry-based investigations to explore issues inherent in confronting environmental problems using emerging technologies that have exciting application for education. Students are using social networking to investigate environmental problems and community perspectives to gain awareness, develop investigative skills, and plan solutions. The project promotes digital literacy and creates an empowering model for student communication across boundaries.


Etner, E., C. Cois, and B. Marinovic

Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN SPECIES COMPOSITION, REPRODUCTIVE STATUS AND SIZE STRUCTURE OF ADULT KRILL STOCKS ALONG THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA NEARSHORE ZONE

Krill species collected as by catch during the annual springtime midwater trawl survey conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Santa Cruz Laboratory have were analyzed for cruises conducted in 2007 and 2008. Samples were collected along a series of onshore/offshore transects in locations ranging from Piedras Blancas in the south to Pt. Reyes in the North. Data are presented for the two most abundant species of krill, Euphausia pacifica and Thysanoessa spinifera. Data on spatial (transect) and temporal (interannual) difference in species composition/abundance, reproductive status, and population size structure (length frequency distribution) are presented.


Ferry-Graham, L.A., G.M. Cailliet, and B. Perlman

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

A SURVEY OF THE FISHES OF THE MOSS LANDING POWER PLANT THERMAL OUTFALL

During 2008, a study of the fishes associated with the Moss Landing Power Plant outfall was undertaken by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories as requested by the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN). The purpose was to provide a brief, quantitative overview of the fish fauna associated with the discharge plume and outfall structure. The fish assemblages were sampled by three methods over seven months: visual census from above water, net tows through the water in the area of the plume, and diver surveys via SCUBA of the outfall structure and nearby jetty (control). Other vertebrate megafauna were also recorded during the sampling periods as these organisms may interact with the fishes present. Bat rays and other megafauna were observed visually and their behaviors included foraging on fish. Fishes were rarely captured in the trawls, and medusae made up most of the catch during the study. Pacific tomcod were captured on only one sample day and made up ~1% of the total catch. Fish schools were also not observed using echo sounders. SCUBA surveys revealed a number of fishes in the rock and cobble habitats, including juvenile and adult rockfishes, surfperches, sculpins, and greenlings. Roughly two-thirds of the fish counted on the transects were at the outfall, which equates to 0.063 fishes/m2 of habitat surveyed at the outfall, versus 0.036 fishes/m2 at the jetty for all sample dates combined. Even though transects included sand habitat, no fishes were observed there. We hypothesize that the structure of the outfall itself attracts fishes.


Figurski, J.

Center for Ocean Health, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

THE DISTRIBUTION, ABUNDANCE, AND DYNAMICS OF DRIFT ALGAE WITHIN KELP FOREST ECOSYSTEMS OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (308 KB PDF)

Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, forms underwater forests along the California coast that are among the most productive and diverse habitats on earth. Kelp can grow .3 meters per day (producing >9,500 metric tons/km of coast) and may represent the most important source of primary production for near-shore ecosystems. Much like litter in terrestrial forests, the majority of kelp production becomes drift that settles to the rocky reef below where it nourishes a complex detritus-based food web. Understanding the distribution, dynamics and fate of drift kelp is integral to understanding how it is utilized and its role in structuring kelp forest ecosystems. I surveyed the standing stock biomass of drift algae and physical characteristics (e.g. depth, substrate, aspect, relief) of 6 kelp forests along central California for 3 years over 4 seasons. I found that drift kelp biomass varies considerably (i.e. from 1 to 15% cover) between forests and that this pattern is consistent across seasons and years. Seasonal differences appear to be driven by increased kelp production in summer, but factors that affect the ability of the reef to retain drift (e.g. exposure, depth, substrate, aspect, and relief) drive relative differences in drift biomass between forests. These results suggest that it may be possible to predict the relative abundance of drift kelp among kelp forests by comparing easily measured physical characteristics of the reef. This approach can help us understand and predict the relative importance of drift kelp in structuring different kelp forest communities along the California coast.


Foley, M.M. (1), P.T. Raimondi (1), C. Storlazzi (2), T. Dawson (3), and M.E. Power (3)

  1. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. US Geological Survey, Western Coastal and Marine Geology, Santa Cruz, CA
  3. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA

CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN TERRESTRIAL AND MARINE SYSTEMS ALONG THE BIG SUR COAST BEFORE AND AFTER THE BASIN COMPLEX FIRE (100 KB PDF)

Fire is a natural process in semi-arid ecosystems, but large, intense wildfires, can produce dramatic adverse, long-term changes in ecosystems. These ecosystem level changes increase erosion rates, nutrient run-off, and vegetative recovery time. The increased "downstream" movement of sediments, nutrients, and particulates can significantly alter terrestrial, stream, and nearshore marine communities. Over 280,000 acres of Big Sur was burned in three separate wildfires during the 2008 fire season, including the 180,000 acre Basin Complex Fire (BCF), the second largest wildfire in CA history. The scale and intensity of the BCF, along with the topography of the region and highly seasonal rainfall patterns of this area, threaten the pristine terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats and biota.

Our team, comprised of multiple universities and government agencies, has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to investigate the effects of the BCF on linked watershed, stream, and nearshore marine habitats because we are in the unique position of having four years (2005-2008) of pre-fire data on nutrient and particulate organic matter (POM) loading from rivers to nearshore habitats and the effects on community structure and function. These data were collected in two rivers and associated nearshore areas of Big Sur: the Big Sur River (watershed ~90% burned) and Big Creek (watershed 0% burned). This pre-fire data set and the difference in burn regime between watersheds will allow us to determine how nutrient and POM concentrations and nearshore community composition and function change after the BCF.


Frasier, K. (1), S.B. Johnson (2), L. Kuhnz (2), L. Lundsten (2), and R. Vrijenhoek (2)

  1. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA
  2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

LIFE AFTER DEATH: A CHARACTERIZATION OF CHANGING WHALE-FALL COMMUNITIES (1.4 MB PDF)

Deep, protected, and enriched by powerful upwelling, Monterey Bay is currently frequented by at least six species of large cetaceans. In 2002, the discovery of a richly colonized whale carcass, 2893 m deep on the canyon floor, prompted in-depth studies of the benthic communities that thrive on these habitat-islands called "whale-falls." To assess the role of bathymetry in structuring whale-fall communities, MBARI researchers have sunk five additional beached cetaceans and monitored their decay. Video surveys obtained with MBARI's remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were used to document rapid consumption of soft tissues by amphipods and large mobile scavengers including sharks, hagfish, macourids and crabs. This was generally followed by the establishment of diverse, multi-trophic communities. Colonists included scavengers, sulphophilic bacteria, and heterotrophic-opportunists, which slowly degraded remaining tissues and bones. Submersible visits revealed distinct community profiles and successional progressions at the respective sites, likely due to local differences in temperature, oxygenation, and sedimentation. Among the decomposers are 15 species of bone-eating Osedax worms, unknown to science before 2004. New genus and species of snails, crabs, worms, anemones and hydroids have also been discovered. In the food-limited benthic environment, the enriching effects of a whale-carcass persist for many years. Historically, whales were more abundant in this region. Present whale populations may limit the frequency and abundance of whale-falls along the California margin, restricting opportunities for the development of these complex decomposer communities. The continued recovery of some large cetacean populations may help preserve the richness and diversity of Monterey Bay's unique deep-sea benthos.


Frechette, D. (1,2), A. Osterback (3), S. Hayes (2), S. Shaffer (3), J. Moore (3), and M. Bond (2)

  1. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Santa Cruz, CA
  3. University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

IMPACTS OF AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WATERSHEDS

Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), and Steelhead Trout (O. mykiss) in central California are listed as endangered and threatened, respectively. Recovery of PIT tags implanted in juvenile salmonids by NOAA Fisheries Biologists suggest that predation by birds may limit recovery of Coho and Steelhead. To date, PIT tags have been recovered on breeding sites of Western Gulls (Año Nuevo Island) and Caspian Terns (Brooks Island). Tags also have been recovered in the stomachs of Common Mergansers, Double-crested Cormorants, Pied-billed Grebes, and Belted Kingfishers that were captured alive or found dead in Scott and Waddell Creeks. Radio-tracking is being used to locate roosting and breeding areas of birds. Once located, these areas are scanned for the presence of PIT tags, and diet samples are collected. Diet samples and PIT tag recoveries will be used to determine the relative importance of salmonids in diet of these bird species. Radio-tracking also is being used to examine activity patterns of Western Gulls, to determine how much time they spend foraging in areas where salmonids are present. Currently we are conducting bi-monthly stream surveys to record species composition and estimate abundance of piscivorous birds on Scott Creek. Abundance estimates will be combined with published values of metabolic rates of birds and caloric content of juvenile salmonids to estimate the number of salmonids consumed by birds on an annual basis. We expect that although Western Gulls occur in greater numbers than strictly piscivorous birds (i.e. Common Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, Kingfishers), they will have less of an impact on the salmon population. We also expect that piscivorous bird populations in Scott Creek are currently limited by the available abundance of juvenile salmonids.


Freiwald, J.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

DENSITY-DEPENDENT CHANGE IN HOME RANGE SIZE OF A TEMPERATE REEF FISH, THE KELP GREENLING (216 KB PDF)

The range and patterns of movement of individual fishes determine the neighborhood within which fishes interact with other species and how they influence their surrounding community. Movement patterns also influence the ability of individuals to encounter mates, access resources, respond to changes in their environment, and how the level of protection of a population scales with the size and shape of marine reserves. Knowledge of how movement rates and patterns are influenced by local population density is critical to understanding the way in which movement contributes to the persistence of populations.

To experimentally test the effect of population density on the home range size of kelp greenling (Hexagrammos decagrammus) I reduced their numbers on replicate reefs. During the experiment, I tracked acoustically tagged individuals with a Radio Acoustic Positioning Array (VRAP) that can locate individuals with high spatial and temporal resolution to measure their movement response. After the density reduction, average home range size of male kelp greenling on the experimental reefs decreased significantly compared to control reefs where densities were not altered.

An interpretation of this result is that at lower fish densities the prey densities on local reefs increase and individuals do not have to move as far to satisfy their resource requirements. Understanding the effects of density on the movement behavior of temperate reef fishes will further our understanding of how movement of fishes will change in marine protected areas where their densities are expected to increase.


Haas, D.L., and S.M. Hoobler

California Department of Fish and Game, Monterey, CA

TRAPPING AND MARK-RECAPTURE OF NEARSHORE FISHERIES IN CARMEL BAY (824 KB PDF)

The collection of essential fisheries information (EFI) is a valuable tool used in managing populations of nearshore rocky reef fishes. Recent reviews in California have listed several nearshore species as having a "data-poor" status due in part to a lack of EFI. Specifically, there is a lack of abundance and mortality data for cabezon, kelp greenling, and other associated nearshore fish species. Beginning in July 2008, the California Department of Fish and Game initiated a mark-recapture study to begin collecting some of this missing information. Fish traps were deployed at two central California study locations, Lingcod Reef and Point Lobos. At each site, traps were deployed within four 250 by 500 meter grid cells in depths of 10 to 60 ft. 696 traps were deployed and 549 fish from 12 species were captured and tagged, yielding a catch per unit effort of 0.79 fish per trap. Black-and-yellow rockfish (Sebastes chrysomelas) were most commonly captured, followed by gopher rockfish (S. carnatus). To date, four fish have been recaptured. Continued trapping and tagging efforts may yield short-term and long-term data that could be modeled to estimate local abundance and mortality for several species.


Honey, K.T.

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program In Environment and Resources (IPER), School of Earth Sciences and Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA

ADAPTIVE SAMPLING IMPROVES ASSESSMENT OF MARINE RESERVES FOR FISHERIES ADAPTIVE SAMPLING (2.3 MB PDF)

Adaptive sampling is an experimental technique that uses accrued data (i.e., observations) to make adjustments to a research design, while research is in progress. Using SCUBA surveys, I examined how ocean-swell conditions at the local scale (10-1000s m scale) affect juvenile- and adult-fish-assemblage structure in nearshore rocky reefs of marine reserves in Monterey Bay, California. I found significant correlations for how swell conditions affect observed abundances and assemblages of juvenile and adult fish in rocky reef habitat. Ocean swell is a relatively easy-to-measure process that serves as a proxy to characterize survey bias in dive counts of nearshore fish populations. Adaptive sampling methods, which respond to local conditions in near-real time, yield more informative data at lower costs. With appropriate application, adaptive designs will improve the accuracy and cost-effectiveness of data collection in marine reserve assessments and legally mandated monitoring goals. In California, this means satisfying monitoring requirements under the Marine Life Protection Act at the lowest possible cost to tax payers. Currently, however, marine ecologists and fishery scientists typically conduct "fixed" sampling procedures, where all decisions regarding design are made prior to data observation. For dynamic environments like nearshore marine ecosystems, these "fixed" procedures may be suboptimal, they lack flexibility and learning occurs only at the conclusion of the experiment. Adaptive procedures overcome such limitations. They work with natural dynamic processes, which are often inherently sequential and characteristic of marine systems, in order to efficiently allocate limited resources without diminishing the statistical power of the procedure.


Karr, K. (1), M. Beck (2), and M. Carr (1)

  1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Center for Ocean Health, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. The Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz, CA

ECOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES OF HABITAT VARIABILITY: EXAMINING THE INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT DISTURBANCE AGENTS TO THE KELP FOREST CANOPY (MACROCYSTIS PYRIFERA) ON LOCAL DIVERSITY (480 KB PDF)

Kelp forests are similar to terrestrial forests; they provide structure that creates a myriad of microhabitats and resources for a diverse array of organisms. In our local kelp forests, the habitat generated by Macrocystis plants has a significant influence on the abundance and diversity of species inhabiting the canopy and settling to the benthic environment. Kelp forests habitats are patchy and subject to frequent disturbances, both anthropogenic and natural. Despite the ecological importance of kelp ecosystems, there has been little research on how kelp forest fauna respond to a spatial and temporal variability in the canopy habitat. Along with the Nature Conservancy, we are measuring the relationship between different disturbance agents and their effects on kelp forest fish and fauna. Sites are monitored to assess the biodiversity supported by the kelp canopy, and the effects of canopy variability on the diversity. After the initial sampling season, surveys have demonstrated a significant decrease in the numbers of adult and newly settling juvenile rockfish and invertebrates after experimental kelp canopy removal in comparison to areas of intact kelp canopy. It is our hope that the study of the kelp canopy habitat for these species may illuminate some of the key factors that control the diversity of the nearshore and suggest best management practices.


Kelly, M.K. (1), J. Lindholm (1), A. Knight (1), D. Kline (1), and J. deMarignac (2)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

BIOGEOGRAPHY OF THE BLACKEYE GOBY (RHINOGOBIOPS NICHOLSI) AROUND TEMPERATE REEFS ALONG THE CENTRAL COAST OF CALIFORNIA (1.2 MB PDF)

The halo of biological activity around tropical coral reefs is well-established, while the extent to which a similar halo occurs around temperate rocky reefs continues to be an area of robust inquiry. One approach to the quantification of any "halo effect" around a rocky reef is to quantify the distance that key reef-associated species span out into near-by low relief habitats. Species such as the blackeye goby, Rhinogobiops nicholsi, may be able to be used to define the boundary of productivity that extends from a reef system, which could ultimately be used in conservation and management of these reefs. Video transects from July 2006 to July 2008 were compiled and reviewed for the presence of R. nicholsi and their relationship to rock "islands". Data were collected using a towed camera sled at several locations along the central coast of California, including Pt. Lobos, Pt. Sur, and Piedras Blancas. In this study, temperate reefs were defined as a hard substrate surrounded by sandy bottom, and the distance that R. nicholsi extended out from this "island" was considered the halo. The distance between a fish and the nearest observed hard bottom was estimated using paired lasers. Preliminary results indicate that R. nicholsi extended out as far as 18 m (mean = 1.6 m). Additionally, there appears to be significant variance among two fish color morphs, with green pigment occurring more frequently over reefs while white occurred more commonly over sand.


Knight, A. (1), J. Lindholm (1), J. de Marignac (2), and A. DeVogelaere (2)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

VARIATION IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF DEMERSAL FISHES ACROSS HARD AND SOFT BOTTOM SUBSTRATE PATCHES (1.1 MB PDF)

The distribution of demersal fishes across macrohabitat ecotones on the continental shelf has not been well documented, particularly across sand-rock interfaces. We analyzed continuous video footage collected with a towed camera sled at the Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area to investigate selected demersal fishes relative to 1) seafloor substrate type, 2) topographic relief, and 3) sessile macrofaunal invertebrates (e.g. sponges, octocorallia). These data, collected in the field at 1-minute intervals using a programmable keyboard, revealed broad patterns in the distribution of fishes, invertebrates, and substrate type. Post-processing of video footage in continuous non-overlapping video quadrats is in progress to resolve a more fine-scale distribution of fishes over biotic and abiotic attributes of seafloor habitats. Ultimately, these data will fill a critical gap in understanding how fishes and habitats are distributed along the central California coast and support future efforts in marine spatial planning along the west coast.


Kunkel, K.

Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

UNDERSTANDING COMMUNITY STRUCTURE: THE EFFECTS OF HABITAT STRUCTURE ON RED ALGAL-ASSOCIATED INVERTEBRATE COMMUNITIES (284 KB PDF)

It is understood that habitat plays an important role in shaping natural communities, however, studies examining species-habitat interactions often fail to separate the effects of physical structure, area, and heterogeneity on community structure. Kelp forests contain heterogeneous communities of algae that provide food and habitat space for a variety of small invertebrate epifauna. These invertebrates, in turn, are an important source of food for larger invertebrates and fish species. Though several studies have focused on the ecological importance of canopy forming brown algae, few have examined the ability of understory algae to provide habitat for invertebrate communities. Foliose red algae (Rhodophyta) are taxonomically and physically diverse, abundant, and easily manipulated in natural systems, making them ideal for assessing the role of habitat structure in influencing the diversity and abundance of organisms that associate with a given habitat type. Using three locally common species of red algae, Chondrocanthus corymbiferus, Gymnogongrus chiton, and Gelidium robustum, I manipulated patch size and composition to determine how various attributes of red algal physical structure influence algal associated invertebrate communities. Invertebrates responded differently to the three algae, with more diverse and abundant communities associated with patches containing the most structurally complex species, G. robustum. Overall, there was a positive relationship between patch size and invertebrate abundance, with no influence of patch size on invertebrate diversity. Conversely, algal diversity positively influenced invertebrate diversity, but did not affect invertebrate abundance.


Lawton, W., D. Franck, and C. Townsend

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

BIRDS AS AN INDICATOR OF RIPARIAN HEALTH (172 KB PDF)

The purpose of our monitoring project is to determine the effect of urbanization on riparian habitat. Our investigative question is: Does urbanization negatively affect riparian habitat? We hypothesize that urbanization is detrimental to the health of riparian habitat because loss of habitat, invasive species and noise pollution impact the population of riparian birds, a key indicator species. Using binoculars, a wind/temperature gauge and a record sheet we observe the bird populations of Felton's Covered Bridge Park as compared to Zayante Trail. Twice a week we visit our sites and document observed birds by sight and call. We are in the process of completing and analyzing our data, but our preliminary data indicates increased numbers of ravens, blackbirds and starlings (invasive species) at the Covered Bridge site as compared to our "pristine" Zayante Trail site. We would like to thank our mentor David Suddjian, the Santa Cruz Bird Club, and our parents.


Lindholm, J. (1), A. Knight (1), J. Kerr (1), M. Subia (1), S. Anderson (1), A. Grant (1), N. Donlou (1), and A. DeVogelaere (2)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

THE RELEVANCE OF THE MBNMS FOR IMPLEMENTING ECOSYSTEM-BASED APPROACHES TO MANAGEMENT WITHIN ITS BOUNDARIES (824 KB PDF)

Ecosystem-based approaches to management is an umbrella term designed to capture the many varied applications of ecological principles to the management of human interaction with natural systems, including ecosystem approaches to management (EAM), ecosystem-based management (EBM), ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) and ecosystem management (EM). We reviewed the global literature and identified 4 EBAM issues that are consistently addressed by management—habitat alteration, water quality, wildlife conservation and management, and living resource management. We used four factors to evaluate the relevance of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) in addressing these four issues within its boundaries: 1) the authority of the MBNMS within its boundaries, 2) the financial commitment of the MBNMS to each EBAM issue, 3) the extent to which EBAM issues are addressed in MBNMS management documents, and 4) the extent of MBNMS collaboration with other agencies. For the purposes of this analysis we defined relevance as how pertinent, connected, or applicable the MBNMS is within its boundaries with respect to the four EBAM issues. We used a simple quantitative model to characterize the interaction of the four factors across the MBNMS. Results indicate that the relevance of the MBNMS varies considerably throughout the Sanctuary, in both intuitive and non-intuitive ways, but that the MBNMS' relevance is consistent across the four EBAM issues. The next step in this project will be to extend the analysis to include the four other Sanctuaries along the west coast of the US.


Lucas, S.

California Department of Fish and Game, Monterey, CA

MARK AND RECAPTURE STUDIES OF NEARSHORE GROUNDFISHES AT CARMEL PINNACLES STATE MARINE RESERVE (96 KB PDF)

In 1999, the California legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) to help conserve biodiversity, protect habitat, and rebuild depleted fisheries. As part of the MLPA, a network of 29 marine protected areas (MPAs) was implemented along the central California coast from Pigeon Pt. to Pt. Conception in fall of 2007. The purpose of this study is to collect baseline information on fish populations within Pinnacles SMR and monitor changes over time to help evaluate the MPA's effectiveness. From July through October 2008, data on nearshore groundfish abundances, sizes, catch rates, and movements inside this MPA and in a nearby reference area at Carmel Point were collected using mark/recapture methods. During nine sampling days, 72 anglers using hook-and-line gear aboard a contracted local charter boat caught 1834 fish, 1421 of which were tagged. In addition, a total of 238 commercial traps (1-hour soak time) set over eight sampling days yielded 472 fish, 446 of which were tagged. Blue rockfish, gopher rockfish, china rockfish and cabezon were the most commonly caught species at Pinnacles SMR whereas canary, black, vermilion, olive, and yellowtail rockfishes were more common at Carmel Point. 13 tagged fish were recaptured on subsequent sampling days and 7 tagged fish were recaptured by the public; all fish were recaptured where they were originally tagged. This study complements central California fish population data collected in another nearby MPA by researchers at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Over time, data from these studies may help inform examinations of this MPA's effectiveness.


Maldini, D., M.P. Cotter, and A. Ponzo

Okeanis, Moss Landing, CA

ON THE PREVALENCE AND SEVERITY OF EPIDERMAL DISEASES IN COASTAL BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS IN MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA (4.6 MB PDF)

The prevalence and severity of epidermal disease in bottlenose dolphins in Monterey Bay was evaluated between 2006 and 2008. Of 163 adults photographically examined, at least 59% were affected by lesions of different levels of severity. Severe conditions (>80% body cover) affected at least 11% of individuals and were more prevalent in males (68%) as opposed to females (42%). Of 31 calves examined, 71% were affected (16% severely). We also documented healing in one identifiable calf, first seen in Aug 2006 exhibiting round and bloody sores. By September 2006, the sores were covered by light scar tissue and, by September 2007, the condition appeared resolved. Causal agents and factors influencing the occurrence of the observed conditions are being investigated.


Maldini, D., R. Eby, R. Scoles, and M.P. Cotter

Okeanis, Moss Landing, CA

24-HOUR BEHAVIORAL CYCLES OF NON-TERRITORIAL SEA OTTERS IN ELKHORN SLOUGH, CALIFORNIA (3 MB PDF)

Elkhorn Slough has been important for sea otters, particularly since 1995. It hosts approximately 4% of the entire California sea otter population. Although a few males are defending territories within the slough, this has been primarily a non-territorial area currently located in the Moss Landing North Harbor. Here, mainly non-territorial male sea otters were observed for a 24-hr cycle, twice a month, during 25 surveys between August 2007 and July 2008. In addition, 52 daytime surveys were conducted between August 2006 and October 2007 at various times between dawn and dusk (1080 instantaneous samples). The daytime distribution of behavioral categories deviated significantly from expected (Chi-Square=31.49; P<.0001) and consisted of 54% resting, 23% grooming, 11% interacting, 10% moving in and out of the area, and 2% foraging. While resting was consistently prevalent throughout the day, grooming and interactions increased in the early morning and before dusk. Daily 24-hr cycles were similar for each of the 25 surveys with a maximum number of sea otters (between 72-149 animals) observed during the night, a subsequent drop in numbers between dawn and noon, and an increase in the afternoon and through dusk. These cycles were more strongly related to time of day than tide. During the day, sea otter numbers averaged between 40-50 animals, but the composition of the raft changed, with otters constantly moving in and out of the area. The number of otters present in the raft (and the number of otters hauled out on the beach at night) was strongly correlated with the inverse of the air temperature, suggesting group cohesion may aid in thermoregulation. The number of otters hauled out on the beach peaked at nighttime, and was almost none during the daytime, which we believe may be more related to disturbance. This is currently being investigated.


Mallet, I.

San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA

SALMONIDS BY THE NUMBERS: A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF SAN LORENZO RIVER POPULATIONS (112 KB PDF)

Salmonids, specifically the Central California Coho Salmon and (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have experienced population decline from the combined effects of water diversion, sediment accumulation, excessive debris, rising water temperatures, and lack of cover in their habitat. Previous salmonid population monitoring studies have been short in duration and have used randomized or non-randomized sampling techniques. San Lorenzo Valley High School (SLVHS) students and the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project have been collecting salmonid census data for approximately 15 years at Felton's Rubber Dam and fish trap on the San Lorenzo River. This data, in hard copy form, is being entered into an Excel Spreadsheet, and will be analyzed using statistical methods. This analysis could reveal additional or overlooked factors that may be contributing to the continuing salmonid decline in the San Lorenzo River Watershed. Thanks go to Terry Umstead, SLVHS Aquaculture Instructor, for providing the census data and direction.


Marinovic, B.

Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

MONTEREY BAY ZOOPLANKTON ONLINE ELECTRONIC ARCHIVE (MB- ZOEA).

One of the largest impediments to detecting change within marine zooplankton populations is the lack of comprehensive climatologies that allow current observations to be placed into a relevant context. For the past 11 years researchers at IMS have been conducting zooplankton sampling within the Monterey Bay (MB) region as part of a long-range investigation on trophic dynamics within the MB pelagic ecosystem. Since 2002, this effort has been incorporated into IMS's CIMT program. During this extended period, an excess of 1000 plankton samples have been collected. This effort has focused on euphausiid (krill) population dynamics within the MB region, however these samples continue to be archived within IMS's facilities and as such constitute a potentially valuable resource for investigators interested in other aspects of the MB pelagic ecosystem. Specifically this archive offers the potential to establish baseline climatolagies and process studies for other zooplankon taxa that would otherwise be unavailable. Unfortunately limited knowledge of the existence and extent of this zooplankton archive, as well as the specifics relating to the samples contained within it, have undoubtedly restricted such potential collaborations. For such a resource to be more fully exploited by additional investigators it must be widely advertised and easily scrutinized for its potential utility.

MBZOEA will allow prospective researchers to quickly conduct online queries that will provide them with detailed inventories of existing samples. As part of this process, researchers will have the opportunity to select from a variety of parameters in order to customize their queries to create a sample inventory tailored to fit their specific research objective(s). They will then be able to submit a request for the samples identified through this process.


McMillan, S.M. (1), B.R. Silliman (2), V. Gulis (3), and K. Demes (1)

  1. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  3. Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC

TROPHIC ASSOCIATIONS BETWEEN MACROCYSTIS PYRIFERA, CHLOROSTOMA BRUNNEA, AND MARINE FUNGI (160 KB PDF)

The importance of grazers in facilitating fungal infection in marine plants was only recently discovered in salt marshes. In these systems, gastropods were found to facilitate the fungi invasion through grazer-induced wounds. These fungal infections led to drastic decreases in plant biomass. In contrast, studies of trophic interactions in kelp forests have traditionally focused on macroscopic organisms. However, we observed fungal epibionts growing on blades of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. To investigate if snail grazing facilitates fungal growth on M. pyrifera, and how that may vary with temperature and densities of Chlorostoma brunnea (an abundant marine snail), we conducted mesocosm experiments manipulating these variables over a 6-month period. Sixteen 55-gallon tanks, plumbed with flowing seawater, were used to examine differences in M. pyrifera biomass, growth rates, and fungal biomass between treatments of high/low temperatures, snail presence/absence, and low to high snail densities. We found a significant relationship between temperature and fungi, with higher temperatures resulting in increased fungal biomass. Also, in the presence of moderate densities of C. brunnea, fungal biomass was significantly reduced while the M. pyrifera remained intact. However, at higher densities of C. brunnea, we observed the snails grazing directly on M. pyrifera causing the degradation of the alga, and increasing fungal biomass. The relationship between C. brunnea and the unidentified marine fungi resembles the associations previously reported for salt marsh systems at high, yet naturally occurring, snail densities. At moderate densities, the snail is a consumer of the fungi, and the M. pyrifera acts as fungal substrate.


Morrice, K. (1), E. McPhee-Shaw (1), J. Girton (2), E. Kunze (3), and S. Brody (2)

  1. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  3. University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

INTERNAL WAVE ENERGETICS AND BOTTOM BOUNDARY LAYER THICKNESS IN MONTEREY BAY CANYON (1.3 MB PDF)

Physical processes in the Monterey Bay Canyon are important because they influence nutrient and sediment budgets, which ultimately influence local productivity. Canyons serve an important role as a conduit for exchange between the open ocean and the continental shelf and have high rates of mixing. Due to the canyons' sloping bottoms and variable topography, internal waves are intensely energetic and contribute to boundary mixing. Kunze et al. (2002) investigated internal waves in the Monterey Bay Canyon and observed major energy dissipation concentrated at the second bend along the canyon axis centered at 900 to 1100-m depth. Internal waves become less energetic as they travel along the canyon axis, with the greatest loss of energy through this region. We thus hypothesize that boundary friction is most intense in the 900 to 1100-m depth range, and expect changes in bottom mixed layer characteristics and boundary layer velocity shear to be more intense in this region compared to deeper and shallower sites in the canyon. CTD, expendable current profiler (XCP), and lowered ADCP data collected from the Monterey Bay Canyon axis are analyzed to track spatial variability in bottom boundary layer heights. Using density profiles from the CTD data, the bottom boundary layer thickness is estimated. Velocity data is used to calculate the frictional bottom boundary layer height. These methods allow us to compare observed and predicted boundary layer thickness along the canyon axis and test the above prediction.


Nevins, H. (1), J. Harvey (1), J. de Marignac (2), E. Phillips (1), C. Gibble (1), D. Jessup (3), M. Miller (3), J. Ames (3), S. Benson (1,4), and A. DeVolgelaere (2)

  1. BeachCOMBERS, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA
  3. Department of Fish and Game, Marine Wildlife Veterinarian Care and Research Center, Santa Cruz, CA
  4. Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, La Jolla, CA

REFLECTIONS IN THE SAND: UNDERSTANDING BIRD DIE-OFFS FROM BEACH SURVEYS IN THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY, 1997—2007 (924 KB PDF)

We reflect on a decade of beach survey data conducted by the Coastal Ocean Marine Bird and Mammal Education and Research Surveys (BeachCOMBERS) to monitor monthly changes in beached birds and mammals in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Using standardized survey methods, we have obtained baseline rates of seabird deposition (birds /km/mo.) along area beaches, and identified unusual mortality events affecting resident avian species, such as Common Murre (Uria aalge,) and Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicullatus); as well as migratory species like Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus), Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), loons (Gavia spp.) and grebes (Aechmophorus spp.). We maintain a network of scientists, researchers and resource managers to enable early detection and investigation of mortality events. Since 1997, we have documented at least 15 different avian stranding events (as evidenced by monthly carcass deposition exceeding the long-term mean plus two SD). We have also identified 11 additional mortality events through documentation of unusual duration, location, spatial distribution, or number of rare avian species along area beaches. Causes of these bird die-offs were attributed to a variety of sources, including human activities (fishery bycatch or oil spills), natural phenomena such as starvation due to upwelling failure (e.g. 2005) and harmful algal blooms (Domoic acid, Akashiwo). In this retrospective analysis, we compare trends in the occurrence and severity of bird die-offs in the Sanctuary in the past and provide a framework to evaluate the significance of future bird mortality events.


Otte, M. (1), D. Kline (2), and J. Lindholm (2)

  1. Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Sciences, Monterey High School, Monterey, CA
  2. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

COMPARISON OF DEMERSAL FISH AND MACROINVERTEBRATE ASSEMBLAGES IN TWO AREAS OF A CALIFORNIA EMBAYMENT (1.8 MB PDF)

Soft-sediment seafloor communities that provide important ecological services such as habitat for fisheries resources, recycling nutrients and detoxifying pollutants, can vary with both time and space. We compared community assemblages of fish and macroinvertebrates in two areas located in the northern and southern regions of a California embayment to evaluate possible spatial differences in that area based on potential differences in grain size and bottom currents. Using an ROV, we collected video records along transects in each of two areas in 170 m water depth. Three community indices, species abundance, richness, and diversity were calculated from species counts of fish, mobile invertebrates and sessile invertebrates and compared between sites. We found no significant difference in species abundance, species richness, or diversity of fish assemblages or species richness of either mobile or sessile invertebrates. However, mobile and sessile invertebrate abundance and diversity were significantly different between the two regions. Presence of a highly abundant, surface-dwelling polychaete drove the difference in abundance. Comparisons without that species were not significantly different. There was a significant difference, however, in diversity of both sessile and mobile macroinvertebrates, both with and without polychaetes included in the analyses.


Parrish-Kuhn, C. (1), J. Lindholm (1), P. Auster (2), and P. Valentine (3)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. National Undersea Research Center, University of Connecticut, Groton, CT
  3. US Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA

RECOVERY TRAJECTORIES OF SEAFLOOR HABITATS AND ASSOCIATED TAXA IN AREAS OPEN AND CLOSED TO MOBILE FISHING GEAR (4.9 MB PDF)

A number of studies have shown that mobile, bottom-contact fishing gear (such as otter trawls) can alter seafloor habitats and associated biota. Little information exists on the recovery of these resources following such disturbances, though this type of information is critical for successful management. The designation of the Western Gulf of Maine Closed Area (WGOMCA) in 1998, which prohibits the use of mobile fishing gear, provided an excellent opportunity to track the recovery of historically trawled areas and to compare recovery rates to adjacent areas that continue to be trawled. In 1998 we implemented a monitoring program in the overlap between the closed area and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to quantify the recovery of seafloor microhabitats and other associated benthic fauna. Sampling sites were selected for each of the four major seafloor habitat types in the Sanctuary—boulder, cobble, sand, and mud. Within each habitat type, impacted and unimpacted reference sites were selected for sampling on either side of the closed area boundary. Videographic and still imagery are being used to quantify the abundance, richness, and diversity of microhabitats at recovering and actively trawled sites. Numerical classifications of microhabitat data illustrate the difference between microhabitat types in the recovering vs. trawled areas and suggest that the difference between the trawled and recovery areas is increasing. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to characterize the recovery trajectories of a wide spectrum of seafloor habitats and to link that recovery to the dynamics of exploited marine fishes.


Paull, C.K., D. Caress, E. Lundsten, W. Ussler III, H. Thomas, and S. Rock

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA

TOPOGRAPHY WITHIN THE AXIAL CHANNELS OF MONTEREY AND SOQUEL CANYONS

Ultrahigh resolution surveys have been conducted that outline the topography within the axial channels of Monterey and Soquel Canyons. Multibeam bathymetry (vertical precision of 0.15 m and horizontal resolution of 1.0 m at 50 m survey altitude) were collected using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). An inertial navigation system combined with a doppler velocity sonar allows the AUV to fly through the sinuous canyons at 3 knots on a pre-programmed route while maintaining an altitude of 50 m above the bottom. The AUV has flown down through the sinuous canyon's axis to over 1,400 m water depths and obtained three or more overlapping swaths covering the axial channel floor and some of its adjacent flanks. One feature revealed in the multibeam bathymetry data are wave-like bedforms with wavelengths of 20 to 100 m and amplitudes up to 2.5 m oriented roughly perpendicular to the channel axis. These bedforms occur down to 1400 m water depth throughout the channel of Monterey Canyon, but not in Soquel Canyon. They are asymmetric with a steep face on the down-canyon side while the other face is nearly horizontal or dips up-canyon, and form crescent-shaped ridges oriented down-canyon. Combined with previous mapping of the upper end of the canyon by CSUMB, we now know that these features extend between 20 m and 1400 m water depths. Repeat mapping shows that these bedforms change position between surveys. Sediment coring and experiments to track seafloor motion show that these changes occur during discrete mass transport events.


Pearse, D.E., E. Martinez, and J.C. Garza

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

DISRUPTION OF HISTORICAL GENETIC STRUCTURE IN COASTAL STEELHEAD (872 KB PDF)

Natural history museum collections represent a valuable source of direct data from natural populations prior to widespread human impacts that can provide a critical baseline for comparison with modern populations. In groups of natural populations that exchange migrants, classical population genetics theory leads to the expectation of a pattern of "isolation-by-distance", whereby geographic and genetic distance are correlated. However, as has been noted for fisheries catch data and wildlife management, human-altered systems are not always appropriate representations of historical conditions on which to base recovery goals (shifting baseline syndrome). Steelhead, Oncorhynchus mykiss, are the anadromous form of rainbow trout and are native to western North America. Tissue samples of steelhead collected by J. O. Snyder in 1897 and 1909 from several central California streams and housed in the Smithsonian Institution's Ichthyology collection provided the opportunity to evaluate the genetic composition and population structure of these endangered fish prior to modern human impacts. Here we show that steelhead from these coastal California watersheds display a historically strong correlation between genetic and geographic distance that has been virtually erased in modern populations. As a result, relationships among modern steelhead populations no longer reflect natural migratory pathways and suggest a breakdown in patterns of adaptation to local environmental conditions. This demonstrates the importance of migration in maintaining population structure and effective size of threatened species and highlights the importance of natural history museums in providing historic baseline information.


Pearse, J. (1), P. Monteforte (1), J. McClintock (2), K. Vicknair (3), and H. Feder (4)

  1. Pacific Grove, CA
  2. Department of Biology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL
  3. Oakland, CA
  4. School of Fisheries and Ocean Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK

DOWN THE HATCH: STAR-EATING GULLS IN MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA (136 KB PDF)

We present photographs documenting Western gulls (Larus occidentalis) swallowing whole sea stars on the breakwater of Monterey, California. In all cases, the prey were adult individuals of Pisaster giganteus, a predominately subtidal species that is occasionally exposed at low tides. Although individuals of the more abundant, predominately intertidal species, P. ochraceus, were often seen overturned with their ambulacral system pecked clean, none were recorded being eaten whole (however, they have been seen swallowed whole elsewhere). Specimens of Patiria miniata were also photographed overturned by gulls, but their ambulacrals were not pecked clean. Gulls swallowing whole specimens of the predominately subtidal Pisaster brevispinus have also been seen elsewhere in Monterey Bay (JP). In addition, gull predation on a variety of intertidal sea stars has been reported for many places and is not uncommon (Google: gull predation sea stars). The impact of gull predation on sea star populations has never been carefully studied. Nevertheless, the recently documented decline of intertidal sea star populations at sites in Monterey Bay may result, in part, from gull predation (Pearse, JS, McClintock, JB, Vicknair, KE, Feder, HM. in press. Proceedings International Echinoderm Conference, Durham, New Hampshire, 2006.)


Preisler, R.K.

Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

BIOGEOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATION OF VARIATION IN ABUNDANCE, HABITAT USE, AND BEHAVIOR OF THE EUROPEAN GREEN CRAB, CARCINUS MAENAS (92 KB PDF)

The focus of this study is to quantify variation in invasion of the invasive species, the European green crab, Carcinus maenas, at a biogeographic scale. The objective is to measure parameters describing invasive green crab populations and to characterize variation in these indicators across a broad geographic range. I sampled the native range of C. maenas, the European Atlantic Coast and the invaded ranges, the US Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. I measured individual traits (average and maximum carapace width, intra- and interspecific aggression) in addition to population traits (relative abundance, size distribution, habitat use (open coast vs. estuaries)).

My results include two key findings: 1) With respect to individual traits, C. maenas is significantly larger on the US Pacific Coast than on the US and European Atlantic Coast. 2) With respect to intra- and interspecific aggression, C. maenas on the US Atlantic Coast is more aggressive than C. maenas in their native range or on the recently invaded US Pacific Coast. In order for community ecologists and coastal managers to better prioritize management efforts of invasive species, there is a strong need for research addressing large scale biogeographic patterns of spatial variation in abundance, habitat use, and behavior of invasive species.


Reyes, C.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

EFFECTS OF EROSION ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF SUBTIDAL COMMUNITIES AND SEDIMENT GRAINS SIZE OF ELKHORN SLOUGH, CA (308 KB PDF)

Elkhorn Slough is an estuary on the central coast of California that has shifted from being a depositional environment to one that is erosional due to the removal of a dune that initially separated the estuary from the Monterey Bay. The degree of erosion is not consistent subtidally throughout the slough and as a result different sediment types exist at different locations. Different parts of the stratigraphic sequence have become exposed in areas of erosion and deposition of sediments in other locations. I hypothesized that erosion was affecting subtidal habitat distribution in EHS through the exposure of different sediments of different grain size, which has been shown to be a reflection of flow regime. Bathymetric data of Elkhorn Slough was collected in 2001 and 2005. Using ArcMap the two data sets were subtracted to give a map of the distribution of change in bathymetry. The degrees of change were broken down into 4 categories: high erosion (greater than 2.0 meters), low erosion (1.99 to 0.50 meters), no change (0.49 to -0.50 meters), and deposition (less than -0.50 meters). A drop camera was dropped at random locations within each category of erosion/deposition and images were analyzed to get an estimate of percent cover of bathymetric habitat forming species. Drop camera images were collected for summer 08, fall 08, and winter 09 and will continue to be collected in the spring of 08. Grab sample collection coincided with the collection of summer 08 images and will be analyzed for grain size using a laser particle sizer. This work will give both baseline data that documents what type of subtidal habitats exist in the slough today and may also give insight into which habitats will be lost and which may persist if erosion continues.


Selbie, H.E. (1), and S.J. Choy (2)

  1. PISCO, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

HISTORICAL ECOLOGY OF THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY (2.7 MB PDF)

Historical ecological research is a way to document the environmental history of an area, providing information to resource managers, and ecologists that are trying to make sense of marine populations that exist in altered ecosystems. For scientists and historians trying to characterize historical baselines or gain insight into historical populations, it is important to gather historical information to assess what data are available before scientific questions can be asked. This poster presents a summary of the results of a historic sources survey of documents and manuscripts relevant to NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) historical ecology, as well as an overview of the methods being used to analyze the data. MBNMS has some of the richest history on the west coast of America due to the California Current driven upwelling ecosystem and related fisheries. Although utilization of the area encompassed by MBNMS began centuries ago, there is no baseline to summarize the magnitude of these changes. Qualitative historic accounts and records of the abundance of marine organisms can be a useful tool to establish baselines in specific localities and assess ecological impact over time. However many historical sources that reference the marine ecosystem from particularly before the 20th Century have been for practical purposes lost and are scattered around the U.S.

The initial research phase provides methods on research and examines the breadth of these sources and their efficacy in providing information about the marine animal populations and environmental history of MBNMS. The secondary research phase in this project entails compiling anecdotal and statistical data, where records exist, on the status of specific species and overall ecological community found in MBNMS to establish older baselines for abundance and biodiversity.


Siegler, K. (1), B. Phillips (1), B. Anderson (1) , K. Smalling (2), J. Hunt (1), K. Kuivela (2), J. Voorhees (1), S. Clark (1), M. Adams (3), and R. Tjeerdema (1)

  1. Environmental Toxicology Department, University of California, Davis, Granite Canyon Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory, Monterey, CA
  2. United States Geological Survey, Sacramento, CA
  3. Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Luis Obispo, CA

WATERSHED-SCALE EVALUATION OF IMPACTS FROM AGRICULTURAL RUNOFF IN THREE CALIFORNIA ESTUARIES: INITIAL RESULTS FOR WATER TOXICITY

Coastal estuaries are among the most ecologically important and critically threatened habitats world-wide. Along California's Central Coast, the three largest watersheds drain to coastal estuaries that provide essential habitat for early life stages of commercial marine fish species, threatened anadromous fish species, migratory birds, and other wildlife. Each of these watersheds contains year-round, intensively cultivated agricultural land that supports a $5 billion/year industry producing most of the nation's lettuce, artichokes, and crucifer crops. Farm groups are initiating management practices to control pesticide runoff, but there is currently no designated effort to document the cumulative loading and effects of pesticides in these coastal estuaries. This project is designed to provide a scientific, statistically rigorous baseline assessment to support future evaluations of the watershed-wide effectiveness of BMP implementation.

The Pajaro, Salinas, and Santa Maria River estuaries are being monitored over a two-year period to measure contaminant concentrations and effects in estuarine water, sediment, and biota, and to link contaminant profiles with those from the main rivers and adjacent tributaries. Biological measurements at the molecular, organismal, and community levels are being measured synoptically to determine associations with contaminants. Preliminary results show that water column and sediment toxicity to invertebrates demonstrates spatial and temporal variability in these watersheds, and toxicity occurs at stations with elevated concentrations of current-use pesticides.


Smith, G.J., T. Conlin, and K. Coale

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

THE ALLIANCE FOR COASTAL TECHNOLOGIES (ACT)—A NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP SUPPORTING COASTAL MONITORING EFFORTS (216 KB PDF)

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 highlight ACT-Pacific Coast achievements in each of these activity areas with particular emphasis on our water quality sensor performance verification activities. We encourage everyone to get involved with the ACT program and to support their regional Ocean Observing System (OOS) activities in general.


Starr, R. (1), D. Wendt (2), N. Yochum (1)*, L. Longabach (2), E. Nakada (2), C. Brooks (1), J. Duryea (1), K. Schmidt (1), and E. Loury (1)

* Presenting author

  1. University of California Sea Grant Extension Program, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance (SLOSEA), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA

GETTING HOOKED: WORKING WITH RECREATIONAL ANGLERS TO COLLECT BASELINE DATA IN MARINE PROTECTED AREAS (92 KB PDF)

In September 2007, 29 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were established along the central California coast, and more MPAs are being planned for the rest of California waters. In order to assess the efficacy of using MPAs as a management tool, baseline and monitoring surveys are needed. To address this need, we conducted workshops with various stakeholders (resource managers, academic scientists, members of non-governmental organizations, and California fishing communities) to develop baseline and monitoring protocols using hook-and-line fishing gear and working with recreational anglers and Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) captains. In the summer and fall of 2007, we implemented these protocols and completed 34 sampling trips within the Año Nuevo, Point Lobos, and Point Buchon State Marine Reserves (SMRs), and corresponding reference sites. In 2008, the Piedras Blancas SMR was added and we conducted 48 days of fishing surveys. Over the course of the project, we worked with 10 CPFV vessels, nearly 400 recreational anglers, and caught nearly 18,000 fishes. From the 2007 and 2008 surveys, we generated baseline data on catch rates, abundance, and size and species composition of the MPAs relative to reference sites. The standardized survey protocols are scientifically rigorous, repeatable, effective coast-wide, and promote collaboration with various stakeholders. The data may also contribute to state and federal stock assessments.


Starr, R. (1), D. Wendt (2), N. Yochum (1)*, L. Longabach (2), E. Nakada (2), C.Brooks (1), J. Duryea (1), K. Schmidt (1), and E. Loury (1)

* Presenting author

  1. University of California Sea Grant Extension Program, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  2. San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance (SLOSEA), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA

SCIENTISTS AND COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN CONDUCT STANDARDIZED FISHING SURVEYS TO COLLECT BASELINE INFORMATION IN MARINE PROTECTED AREAS (96 KB PDF)

Worldwide, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used as a marine resource conservation and management tool. In September 2007, 29 MPAs were established along the central California coast, and more MPAs are being planned for the rest of California waters. Resource managers have found that the effectiveness of MPAs is dependent upon the level of societal acceptance and stakeholder involvement. In order to foster collaboration, we worked with academic scientists, resource managers, members of non-governmental organizations, and California fishing communities to develop standardized survey protocols to gather baseline data for monitoring the MPAs using commercial fish traps and working with commercial fishermen. Collaborating with commercial fishermen allows for the inclusion of fishermen knowledge and expertise into the management process, it facilitates the development of shared perspectives on the status of marine resources, and allows members of industry to play an active role in the assessment of MPAs. In the summer and fall of 2008, we surveyed the Año Nuevo, Point Lobos, Cambria and Piedras Blancas MPAs and corresponding reference sites. In 44 days of fishing, we caught nearly 2,600 fishes and 3,000 invertebrates, and generated information on catch rates, abundances, and size and species composition of fishes in the MPAs and reference sites. This information will serve as a baseline to evaluate the efficacy of the MPAs in the future.


Starrett, L.E. (1), B.K. Wells (2), M.H. Carr (1), and C.B. Grimes (2)

  1. Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Santa Cruz, CA

COMPARING CHEMICAL SIGNATURES IN THE OTOLITHS OF JUVENILE ROCKFISH (SEBASTES JORDANI AND SEBASTES ENTOMELAS) TO WATER CHEMISTRY ALONG CENTRAL CALIFORNIA: WHAT CAN THEY TELL US? (2.5 MB PDF)

Marine communities are strongly influenced by the delivery of pelagic juveniles that recruit into local populations. Interannual variation in this delivery of young can drive both year-class strength and population structure of many marine species. An ecologically and economically important genus that resides within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) is that of Sebastes, the rockfishes. Surveys conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Santa Cruz have been monitoring the abundance and distribution of pelagic juvenile rockfish within MBNMS for 25 years. Over time, abundance of juveniles has been shown to be highly variable, the years of lowest abundance coinciding with years of low upwelling intensity (El Niño). Understanding how oceanographic conditions, such as upwelling, influence variability of juvenile abundance is fundamental to our knowledge of marine populations, ecosystems and the fisheries they support. Using comparative analyses between water and otolith chemistry, we will address the effect of environmental influence on growth and likely survival of pelagic juvenile rockfish in three steps. 1) Using chemistry and satellite imagery, we will describe key water masses along central California, including areas of major upwelling, the San Francisco estuary outflow, and the upwelling shadow of Monterey Bay. 2) We will assess the relationships between otolith chemical signatures and water masses from which they were collected to see if otoliths can reliably indicate water mass residency. 3) Finally, we will examine how exposure to different water masses affects growth rate, a proxy for larval condition and survival.


Wadsworth, T.

University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

TRENDS IN ABUNDANCE SURVEYS OF NEARSHORE ROCKY REEF FISHES OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA 1959-2007 (1.3 MB PDF)

An essential ingredient to maintaining a stable fishery in the nearshore rocky reef habitats of central California is the understanding of fish population trends. The paucity of fish abundance data has resulted in management decisions in nearshore rocky reef areas of central California based on data-poor stock assessments or none at all. Stock assessments can be improved with the addition of indices of abundance with low data variability. Population estimates with effort (e.g. fishing time), among other parameters, are needed for models to accurately reflect the stock size. However, without an understanding of the stock trend (historical abundance), fishery managers cannot assess whether the stock is increasing, declining or in equilibrium. This study informs fisheries managers on the potential of existing abundance survey data for understanding trends in traditionally data poor nearshore rocky reef communities of central California. I included 18 fish species commonly targeted by fisheries that are found within rocky reef habitats between Cape Mendocino and Pt. Conception. Nine abundance surveys of varying time scales were analyzed to compare trends, intra-annual precision and sources of variability. I used the generalized linear model (GLMs) to create time-series of yearly abundance indices from population abundance and environmental variable data collected for each study species. Plots were created from yearly index of abundance values to examine trends. To assess whether direction and significance of trends, I used linear regressions based on yearly index values. I found that different survey methodologies (e.g. CPUE vs. SCUBA surveys) sampled some species at different rates. Trends for a given species over the same time period also differed according to the survey used in many cases. While long-term trends for most species fluctuated greatly, abundance in recent years declined for many species. Life history patterns of the study species combined with survey limitations likely dictated the ability of a given survey type to sample a particular species. This analysis of historical abundance patterns can be useful for designing future surveys to target species of interest, and improving management of this valuable marine resource.


Watson, J. (1), J. Lindholm (1), R. Starr (2), F. Watson (1), and A. Guzman (1)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. University of California Sea Grant Extension Program, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA

USING ECOVIZ TO DEPICT BLUE ROCKFISH (SEBASTES MYSTINUS) MOVEMENTS IN THE CARMEL BAY STATE MARINE CONSERVATION AREA (5.2 MB PDF)

Identification of the underlying structure, casual relationships, and feedback interactions between fish and habitat attributes of the seafloor is critical for marine spatial planning efforts (e.g., marine reserves). Due to the often controversial nature of marine reserve designations, the success of marine reserves will be evaluated in a socio-political context. Consequently, it is not only critical to have robust science underlying the reserve design and management, but it is equally important that the results of any research and monitoring activities be disseminated to diverse stakeholder groups in a way that is both transparent and instructive. Compelling new visualization techniques can significantly advance these efforts and consequently enhance management of marine ecosystems. Three-dimensional visualizations provide detailed representations of multiple management scenarios and their implications while also engaging stakeholders. The primary objective of this study is to use EcoViz to produce detailed, three-dimensional, digital animations depicting blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) movements as mediated by kelp cover and seafloor within the Carmel Bay State Marine Conservation Area. The EcoViz approach is implemented within the Tarsier Environmental Modeling Framework, which provides a PC-based software platform for visualizing diverse environmental data and models of complex systems.


Woodson, C.B.

Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

RECRUITMENT IN UPWELLING-DOMINATED REGIONS DRIVEN BY THE MOVEMENT OF NEARSHORE FRONTS

A field study was conducted during the upwelling season in northern Monterey Bay to assess the influence of nearshore fronts on the recruitment of barnacles and nearshore fish species. During the upwelling season, the northern Monterey Bay is characterized by a distinct upwelling shadow. This water body creates a strong convergent front with cold, recently upwelled waters of the outer coast. Frontal movement along the coast was driven by an alongshore momentum balance between the pressure gradient (barotropic and baroclinic) and the local diurnal wind stress. Juvenile fish and barnacle recruitment were sampled at four sites (two within the upwelling shadow, two within the outer coast upwelling plume concurrently with physical oceanographic variables. Sites located within the upwelling shadow showed consistently low recruitment levels, while sites located within the upwelling plume showed distinct pulses of recruitment associated with the nearshore front. Northward movement of the upwelling shadow front during relaxation events also led to recruitment pulses. These results highlight the importance of nearshore oceanographic features in defining larval dispersal and recruitment.


Wrubel, K.R. (1), J.B. Lindholm (1), A. Knight (1), J. de Marignac (2), A. DeVogelaere (2), and J.L. Watson (1)

  1. Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
  2. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA

SANCTUARY CHARACTERIZATION AND IMAGE DISPLAY (SCID): RAPID DISSEMINATION OF DATA COLLECTED IN REAL-TIME (1.5 MB PDF)

Effective marine policy depends on the timely dissemination of research results, informed management agencies, and a knowledgeable public. However, the reality of data processing and analysis time frequently impedes the timely dissemination of detailed results. The implications of delayed reporting of scientific data are particularly acute where management agencies and policy-makers are anticipating the arrival of information to support environmental decision-making. This makes it crucial to have a set of summary data quickly available for such agencies. Over the past three years (2006-2008) a new partnership between the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME) at CSU Monterey Bay and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) has formed to use a towed camera sled to collect videographic data throughout the Sanctuary in support of Sanctuary site characterization efforts as well as MPA monitoring activities.

Data are collected at-sea using a programmable keyboard at 1-min intervals and are subsequently presented in summary form and as representative video clips and frame grabs on a dedicated website immediately post-cruise. More detailed analyses are conducted on the video imagery post-cruise on a frame-by-frame basis. Though intended for separate audiences, the collection of data at two separate sampling intervals, from the same video imagery, provides the opportunity to compare the two approaches for characterizing the scales at which species and habitat attributes occur in the Sanctuary.


Yoklavich, M. (1), R. Starr (2), B. Tissot (3), T. Laidig (1), and D. Watters (1)

  1. Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Santa Cruz, CA
  2. University of California Sea Grant Extension Program, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
  3. Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

MONITORING MARINE PROTECTED AREAS IN DEEP WATER OFF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (200 KB PDF)

Deep rocky banks and outcrops, underwater pinnacles, and submarine canyons are important and diverse habitats to hundreds of species of fishes and macroinvertebrates in Central California waters. In 2007, 29 marine protected areas (MPAs) were established off Central California to protect coastal marine habitats and species, as a result of the 1999 California Marine Life Protection Act. A new approach to marine resource management, this large network of MPAs was initiated along with a scientific monitoring program that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this spatial protection. In 2007 and 2008, with additional funding from the California Ocean Protection Council and California Department of Fish and Game, our team collected baseline data in deep portions of eight of the new MPAs and associated Reference sites. Using the manned submersible Delta, we surveyed all fishes and macroinvertebrates in a variety of seafloor habitats from 24-365 m deep in Monterey and Carmel Bays and along the Big Sur coast. During 746 quantitative transects, we observed nearly 133,000 fishes from 135 taxa. In 2007 we observed 158,000 aggregating and 14,000 structure-forming invertebrates from 70 taxa (2008 invertebrate data not yet completed). This comprehensive baseline will be used in the future to critically evaluate the effectiveness of the new MPAs by assessing changes in the diversity, density, and size composition of species in associated seafloor habitats.


Young M., R. Kvitek, R. Maillet, P. Iampietro, R. Hanlon, K. Foote, and C. Garza

California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

SQUID SEX AND SONAR: ACOUSTIC DETECTION OF EGG MOPS AS A POTENTIAL TOOL FOR THE SPATIAL MANAGEMENT OF CALIFORNIA MARKET SQUID (LOLIGO OPALESCENS) SPAWNING GROUNDS

The California market squid, (Loligo opalescens) has become the largest fishery in California in both tonnage landed and monetary value, but total catches are declining especially in the Monterey Bay area. The use of no-take spawning areas has been proposed as a method of managing this species; however, more information on the spawning habitats of L. opalescens is needed. In this study, sidescan sonar and video groundtruth data were collected in southern Monterey Bay, CA over three years to both verify the reliability of sidescan sonar as a tool for detecting the presence and quantifying the distribution and abundance of squid egg mops and to explore the following hypotheses: (1) L. opalescens show a consistent interannual preference for specific habitat types and depth; (2) L. opalescens consistently spawn in the same spatial location every year; and (3) there is a positive relationship between egg mop abundance and catch data. Results show that squid do not have a narrow depth preference, with significant differences found between the depth distributions across all surveys (Kruskal-Wallis, p-value < 0.000). In addition, there was significant clustering of egg mops within years, but clustering did not occur in the same spatial location every year. Finally, there was a positive relationship between egg mop abundance and catch data. In conclusion, sidescan sonar was a reliable, effective and efficient means of monitoring and quantifying squid egg mop abundance and distribution and could serve as an important tool in the delineation and adaptive management of no-take squid spawning areas.


Zelenke, B. (1), M.A. Moline (2), G.B. Crawford (3), N. Garfield (4), B.H. Jones (5), J.L. Largier (6), J.D. Paduan (7), E.J. Terrill (8), and L. Washburn (9)

  1. Center for Coastal Marine Sciences, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
  2. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
  3. Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
  4. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
  5. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  6. University of California Davis, CA
  7. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA
  8. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
  9. University of California, Santa Barbara, CA

EVALUATING THE CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA MARINE PROTECTED AREAS (MPAS) USING CODAR HF-RADAR MEASUREMENTS (2.7 MB PDF)

To investigate the connectivity between the Point Buchon marine protected area (MPA) and other oceanic Central California MPAs, back-projections were calculated using the ocean surface currents measured by the network of CODAR high-frequency (HF) radar stations operated along the California coast by the member institutions of the Coastal Ocean Currents Monitoring Program with funding provided by California voters through Propositions 40 & 50 and administered by the State Coastal Conservancy. Trajectories of a 1 km resolution grid of water particles were back-projected from the Pt. Buchon MPA each hour, out through 40 days in the past, from 365 starting-days, producing a map of where surface waters travel over a 40-day period to reach the Pt. Buchon MPA—and a visualization of the length of time the waters travel along these paths. By comparing the travel times of those back-projected track-points that fell within other Central California MPAs, the connection time between the Pt. Buchon MPA and adjacent MPAs was calculated. Repeating these calculations for the other Central California MPAs would result in a connectivity matrix between all the MPAs in the region.

URL: http://montereybay.noaa.gov/research/currsymp2009/posters.html    Reviewed: March 04, 2014
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