Research Poster Session:
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.
2010 Best Graduate Student Poster
Booth, JAT (1,3), E McPhee-Shaw (1), R Phillips (2), P Chua (2), and W Gilly (3)
2010 Honorable Mention: Graduate Student Poster
Watson, J, and J Lindholm
Institute For Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
2010 Best Undergraduate Student Poster
Alfasso, AC, DA Bauerlein, DA Cannon, JI Carrillo, KR Corcoran, AC Davis, GA Figueroa, J Gomez, DJ Gossard, SE Hilton, SV Jeffries, TA Madsen, CB Mueller, EJ Ross, JS Williams, A Alanezi, and S Quan
California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
2010 Honorable Mention: Undergraduate Student Poster
Riggin, J, F Watson, and H Kibak
Division Of Science And Environmental Policy, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
2010 Best High School Student Poster
Rinkert, A, and C Chesus
Watershed Academy, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
2010 Honorable Mention: High School Student Poster
Bickert, RE, and KM Van Wandelen
San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
Research Poster Session Abstracts and PDFs
California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
TESTING FOR PERSISTENCE AND CHANGE IN GEOMORPHOLOGY OF DISTINCTIVE LOW RELIEF SEDIMENT BODIES OF CONTRASTING GRAIN SIZE ALONG A DEPTH GRADIENT ON THE CONTINENTAL SHELF OF MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA (716 KB PDF)
Multibeam sonar bathymetry and backscatter data from the California Seafloor Mapping Project (CSMP) have revealed that the most ubiquitous features of sedimentary habitats across the State's continental shelf are sharply delineated low relief rises and depressions of distinctly different sediments. These sinuous to lunate features are often clustered, extending along corridors from shallow nearshore waters (e.g. 10m) out toward the continental shelf break (e.g. 100m). The vertical separation of adjacent fine sediment rises and coarse sediment depressions is typically 0.3 to 0.8 meters, occurring across a very steep, narrow transition (<1m). While the distribution of these features can be clearly seen in the CSMP data, it is not known how frequently or under what circumstances they form and change. Here we present spatial analysis of repeat mapping results from three such areas spanning a 10-30m depth range in southern and central Monterey Bay to assess the stability of these features over the last ten years and to test the hypothesis that those in shallower nearshore waters are more mobile and ephemeral than those found in deeper waters.
Ammann, KN, CA Bell, MK George, DW Orr, MA Redfield, and PT Raimondi
University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
AN OVERVIEW OF THE BIOLOGICAL SAMPLING USED TO ASSESS THE CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST MARINE PROTECTED AREAS- WITH EMPHASIS ON ROCKY INTERTIDAL HABITATS (288 KB PDF)
In 2007 a network of 29 MPAs was established along the central coast of California reaching from Pigeon Point south to Point Conception. Four main sampling schemes are providing the biological data for these MPAs. They include: 1. the Collaborative Fisheries Research Program, 2. deep rocky reef sampling, 3. subtidal kelp forest surveys and 4. intertidal rocky reef surveys. If MPAs are to protect habitats and preserve ecosystem biodiversity as required by the MLPA initiative, several goals must be met. These goals include creating a baseline of marine resources, assessing the performance of MPAs and providing adaptive management of the MPA network. Given the number and spatial extent of MPAs the characterization and assessment should rely on existing monitoring programs when available and appropriate to increase cost effectiveness and broaden the interest beyond just the MPAs. Intertidal habitats are arguably the most sensitive areas to land-based and human activities. Current rocky intertidal MPA work along the central coast is based on an existing long-term monitoring program, MARINe (Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network). This program has established site surveys that characterize community assemblages and provide long-term assessments of the rocky shores. Coordination with existing sampling provides an extremely efficient way to ensure that biological sampling meets well-developed monitoring standards and that data are compatible along the entire west coast of North America.
Andersen, G (1), T Hazen (1), Y Pecino (1), E Dubinsky (1), and J Hulls (2)
COMPREHENSIVE MICROBIAL COMMUNITY ANALYSIS OF OCEAN RECREATIONAL WATERS AND SOURCE MICROBIOMES (256 KB PDF)
The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories "PhyloChip" microarray is capable of simultaneously detecting over 50,000 OTUs (operational taxonomic units) of bacteria and archaea in a single test, measuring not only presence/absence but relative abundance. The ability to rapidly and repeatably perform comprehensive microbial community analysis is proving to be a powerful tool, not only in monitoring water quality for public health, but in understanding the complex microbial ecology of both fresh and ocean waters. Current projects include California State Water Resource Board funded Phylochip/Clean Beaches project examining the microbial ecology of selected beaches from Bodega to San Francisco in a cooperative project involving Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco counties. In addition to the beach testing, work to date includes sampling and analyzing the impact of a February 2009 gallon sewage spill that dumped 750,000 gallons of sewage in San Francisco Bay. The spill occurred adjacent to one of the project test sites, where two years of data have been collected in parallel with the State AB411 beach monitoring program. The PhyloChip, currently in its third generation, is a high throughput 16S rRNA gene based microarray, validated by 15 beta-test users world wide, in a variety of applications. Direct comparisons with clone library tests by NASA and others show extremely high sensitivity especially with low abundance species The speed and reproducibility of the PhyloChip analysis may allow us to move away from single indicator species testing to a more risk based analysis of microbial pollution and its impacts on public health and the environment.
Angeles, R (1,2), R Alvarez (1,2), D Ruiz (1,2), and R Valadez (1,2)
AQUATIC INVERTEBRATES: INDICATORS OF WATER QUALITY IN WATSONVILLE SLOUGHS (80 KB PDF)
Aquatic invertebrates are often overlooked and ignored by average people, as well as some scientists, but for our project they are the focus of our research. Invertebrates are important to their aquatic ecosystem, for they are indicators of healthy water conditions. Their absence could affect the food web because they are a food source for other organisms. They also consume algae and help reduce the possibility of algal blooms. The three locations for our research were Upper West Struve Slough, Hanson Slough, and Watsonville Slough in the Watsonville Wetlands Watershed. We chose these particular locations based on the land use surrounding them. West Struve Slough is a relatively pristine location, meaning that it has been less impacted by human activity compared to the other sites. Organic farming methods are practiced in the fields surrounding Hanson Slough. Watsonville Slough is an urban suburban site that is visited by humans frequently. Our field research consisted of collecting and counting aquatic invertebrates from samples as well as conducting water quality tests. We consulted Noelle Antolin at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center (WERC), who helped us organize testing days, and Josh Plant from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), who oversaw our method of quantifying the invertebrates. As a result of our research, we learned that conservation of the habitats and its organisms is important, and that the public should know of their role, because a community as a whole can have a greater impact than a single person.
Barnes, CE, BL Whitehill, and N Mitchell-Brudnick
Watershed Academy, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
SUDDEN OAK DEATH: THE IMPACT OF ABIOTIC FACTORS ON THE PROGRESSION OF PHYTOPHTHORA RAMORUM (748 KB PDF)
Many trees behind our high school, which is adjacent to Fall Creek State Park, have been killed by Phytophthora ramorum a fungus pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death. The objective of our project is to determine if abiotic factors at different altitudes affect the concentration and distribution of P. ramorum and the progression of Sudden Oak Death. We hypothesize that at lower altitudes, there will be higher soil moisture, and therefore a higher incidence of Sudden Oak Death. We have been collecting data and monitoring infection status of oak trees in a natural area behind San Lorenzo Valley High School since August 2009. In the 24 plots we have established, we determine soil moisture, relative humidity and light intensity using a Vernier Lab Quest and appropriate sensors. We determine location and altitude of the plots using a GPS and stadia rod. We will try to ascertain any correlation between these abiotic factors and the progression of Sudden Oak Death. Our data collection shows that relative humidity seems to increase as altitude increases, but soil moisture and light do not yet show any clear patterns. We have not yet collected enough data to conclude anything significant about the relationship between abiotic factors and Sudden Oak Death. Our study could lead to new avenues to control and contain Sudden Oak Death which is ravaging California coastal forests. We would like to thank our mentor Professor Michael Loik.
Barraza J (1,2), A Briceño (1,2), and E Sumano (1,2)
RETURN OF OAK WOODLAND (296 KB PDF)
For centuries, people brought plants from their homeland without knowing the consequences of their actions. Plants that were introduced by immigrants are typically referred to as non-indigenous or invasive species, which have the ability to degrade natural habitats. Invasive plants have taken over our local dunes and degraded the habitat along the way. For our project we decided to restore the dune habitat to a native Oak Woodland, like it was prior to human disturbance. With the help of our mentors, Linda Kuhnz from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Peter Slattery from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, we have identified a location in need of rehabilitation at Moss Landing Hill where we established the beginning to a successful restoration. As the first step of restoration, we modeled natural succession by planting early colonizers, such as Yellow Bush Lupine, that will increase the soil fertility. As part of our research, we used the Global Information System (GIS) at the previously restored area at Moss Landing Hill to help us understand the effects of restoration. We will monitor the changes in the habitat by utilizing the GIS. Since dune restoration is such a long-term process, one of our goals as WATCH students is to pass this project on to the next group of WATCH students. It is our vision that the next group of students will be interested in this project, due to the fact that it is the beginning of something we believe will one day make a difference in dune habitats.
Basilio, A (1), B Perlman (2), and L Ferry-Graham (2)
EFFECTS OF BODY SIZE ON THE SWIMMING PERFORMANCE OF BLACK SURFPERCH (EMBIOTOCA JACKSONI) FROM CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
Black surfperch (Embiotoca jacksoni) are labriform swimmers that rely on their pectoral fins for propulsion. We examined the effects of body size on fin beat frequency and critical swimming speed (Ucrit) of E. jacksoni. We hypothesized that swimming performance would scale isometrically with body size. When standardizing velocity to body lengths per second (BL/s), we expected there to be no slope across body sizes. The fish were tested in a flume at intervals based on BL/s, beginning with a 30 minute acclimation period at 0.5 BL/s. Flume velocity was increased by 0.25 BL/s every five minutes until Ucrit was reached. One minute into each new interval, the pectoral fin beats were counted for 20 seconds while being recorded with a camcorder. The time of the gait transition (Up-c), when the fish recruits the caudal fin for added thrust, was noted. For all fish sizes, fin beat frequency increased with increasing velocity. Across all speeds, fin beat frequencies were highest among the smaller fish. Absolute Ucrit values increased with increasing body size yet the slope was less than isometric. When standardized, Ucrit values decreased with increasing body size. Our data suggested that swimming performance was affected by differences in body size, but not as predicted by isometry.
San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
KELLI AND RACHEL'S EXCELLENT BEACH ADVENTURE-THE SEQUEL: SAND, STORMS AND SAPIENS (632 KB PDF)
In our first year of monitoring Seabright Beach, we discovered an annual dredging project in the adjacent Santa Cruz Harbor. This year, we wanted to determine the impact of the dredging on the beach east of Seabright Beach and the harbor, Twin Lakes Beach. In comparing the profiles of the two beaches, we will determine how longshore transport and dredging impact a beach. Our data will show that the harbor jetty blocks longshore sand transport past Seabright Beach, thus starving Twin Lakes Beach of sand. Furthermore, human dredging of sand from the harbor will counteract some of the sand starvation by adding sand to Twin Lakes Beach. The materials used are hand level, rod level and stadia rod. We go to both beaches and survey across from North to South until we reach the ocean, gathering height every two meters. We then cumulate the data and graph it. It appears that Twin Lakes Beach is starved of sand compared to Seabright Beach. Once dredging of the harbor started, however, Twin Lakes profile became steeper compared to Seabright. Upon initial inspection, dredging the harbor would seem to have a negative impact on the profile of Twin Lakes Beach; however, dredging appears to be essential in providing sand to nourish the beach. This prevents further erosion of the beach due to the trapping of sand and blocking of longshore transport by the upstream harbor jetty.
Birch, J (1), G Doucette (2), C Everlove (1), M Frazier (3), S Jensen (1), R Marin (1), C Preston (1), B Roman (1), J Ryan (1), and C Scholin (1)
AUTONOMOUS REAL-TIME MONITORING OF THE ABUNDANCE AND ACTIVITY OF MICROORGANISMS IN COASTAL WATERS: THE ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLE PROCESSOR (ESP) (984 KB PDF)
Coastal ecology and water quality have profound influences on socioeconomic well being. Effective management of coastal environments requires clear understanding of the complex connections between human activities and the physical, chemical and biological dynamics of coastal ecosystems. Informing the management process often requires unambiguous, quantitative knowledge of the abundance and activity of microorganisms that may negatively affect human health, recreation, fisheries, and tourism. The specificity and certainty with which microbial abundance and activity can be determined have been greatly augmented by molecular methods. Deployment of molecular methods on autonomous platforms is now bringing this valuable specificity and certainty into the realm of sustained, timely information flow to inform environmental management. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) is an autonomous robotic system that can acquire water samples, apply molecular methods to identify genes and gene products of target species, and report results to scientists and managers in real time. ESP is currently deployed on piers and moorings, excellent platforms for monitoring ecologically sensitive sites where human populations and activities may be concentrated. Fixed-location ESP deployments are supporting studies of potentially deleterious occurrences, including harmful algal blooms (HABs) and water quality degradation by anthropogenic constituents of land drainage. These phenomena may be coupled, thus a single ESP can run analyses relevant to understanding both. This poster will highlight recent studies employing ESP in the MBNMS, and it will provide a look toward the near-term future of ESP mobilization on autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).
NATURALLY OCCURRING COASTAL HYPOXIA IN MONTEREY BAY (2 MB PDF)
Oxygen in marine ecosystems is crucial to life, but the world's oceans are becoming more hypoxic through cascading effects of climate change and anthropogenic eutrophication. Dissolved oxygen (DO) has been recorded since 2000 at a depth of 17 m depth adjacent to a kelp forest habitat offshore of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in southern Monterey Bay. These data show that mild (< 4.6 mg/L) to severe (< 2mg/L) hypoxic waters regularly inundate this shallow subtidal ecosystem with the potential to negatively impact nearshore species. It is likely that cold, hypoxic (and acidic) water that originates at depth in the Monterey canyon system is being driven into nearshore environments to cause these events. Preliminary investigations have shown that hypoxic intrusions occur on a seasonal basis, typically between March and September, during the peak upwelling season. Low oxygen events can last up to 9 hours at levels <2 mg/L (lethal for some fish) and up to 83 hours at <4.6 mg/L (threshold below which ecosystem biodiversity is compromised). Similar hypoxic events are evident in time-series data collected by Moss Landing Marine Labs at their seawater intakes. Time-series analysis of DO, temperature and tidal height are consistent with internal waves as being a primary driver. Wind-driven upwelling appears to increase the intensity of these events. This study sets a baseline, albeit a variable one, for the current state of DO in coastal Monterey Bay waters and has important implications for the management of impacted fisheries and agricultural runoff.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
A STUDY OF STORM-INDUCED VARIABILITY IN THE LITTORAL SEDIMENT TRANSPORT PATTERNS OF CENTRAL MONTEREY BAY (944 KB PDF)
Recent trends in sea level rise threaten both coastal communities and beaches, making it critical to understand sediment resupply patterns along tectonically active, wave-dominated coastlines. Monterey Bay is a unique crescent shaped embayment with distinct sources and sinks for sediment, but the ephemeral nature of sediment input to the bay makes estimations of alongshore sediment transport patterns difficult, with strong variability over small spatial and temporal scales. This 2008 - 2009 study focuses on establishing trends of littoral transport and how they vary from summer to winter conditions in the central Monterey Bay area. Littoral transport is estimated using spatial grain size trends and heavy mineral petrography. The Gao and Collins Vector Model was used to estimate transport direction between transect locations, while heavy mineral provenance was traced from the Salinas and Pajaro Rivers to test the estimates of the Vector Model. Littoral transport patterns were found to be largely unaffected by seasonal alterations in incoming swell direction and frequency. Heavy Mineral deposition in the study area supports the conclusion that there are two dominant littoral cells in Monterey Bay isolated by the Monterey Canyon. Because the Monterey Canyon acts as a significant barrier to coastal sediment exchange, similarities in coastal composition within the study area is thought to be generated by the erosion of both the Aromas and Ft. Ord sandstones.
Cardenas W (1,2), C Carrillo (1,2), A Chau (1,2), S Ferreira (1,2) J Quintero (1,2), and A Rocha-Ortiz Jr. (1,2)
CHANGE OF HEART: HANSON AND STRUVE SLOUGH (164 KB PDF)
Located in the heart of the Pajaro Valley watershed, Hanson and West Struve Slough are two locations where human disturbances have had a negative impact on erosion, water quality, and biodiversity. The upper part of Hanson Slough, which was restored approximately 15 years ago, is far from being as immaculate as it previously was. Due to its agricultural surroundings, the slough's water supply is polluted by extensive runoff during the rainy season. The upper West Struve Slough site is fed by a spring, supplying the slough with relatively pristine water. The topography surrounding the slough also protects it from any unwanted runoff, making it a suitable example of what an undisturbed wetland can be. We hope to compare our water quality data of upper Hanson Slough with past records if they exist to see the effects of agriculture versus restoration. We worked with the staff of the Wetland Educational Resource Center (WERC) and learned from their expertise in the field. We measured the turbidity, nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH level, and temperature, observed biodiversity, and analyzed our results. We will inform our community on how the original wetlands of yesterday have been negatively impacted by the agricultural setting of today. We are preparing a restoration event for future Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (WATCH) students, where more native plants will be planted. We hope to give Watsonville residents knowledge about their local environment and teach them that they do indeed have the power to make a change.
Chesus, KA and J Coker
Watershed Academy, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
POSTCARDS FROM THE BAY: A COMPARISON OF PHYTOPLANKTON POPULATIONS IN MONTEREY BAY (1.2 MB PDF)
Phytoplankton play a crucial role in the world's ocean: providing oxygen, a food source and a carbon sink. After quantifying the biodiversity of phytoplankton in Santa Cruz harbor last year, we have since expanded our focus to compare the abundance and diversity of phytoplankton at three additional sites: the North Santa Cruz Harbor and the Santa Cruz and Monterey Wharfs. This is the first time data from these sites has been compared, enabling us to determine if phytoplankton populations in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary are influenced by location or other larger factors. We hypothesize that the two wharf locations will have a greater biodiversity and abundance of species than the harbor locations due to the harbor's limited access to the open ocean. Additionally, we predict that the biodiversity and abundance patterns of the wharf sites will be more similar to each other than the harbor sites. If true, this result could indicate that phytoplankton in the Sanctuary are influenced by broad factors rather than more localized conditions. To gather our data, we collect a sample of phytoplankton twice a month using a 20 mm mesh net from two sites in the North and South Harbor and record several environmental factors. We microscopically identify species and determine abundance. We then graph our data and compare it to data from Santa Cruz and Monterey Wharfs. This project was made possible by: Gregg Langlois (CDPH), Susan Coale and Jenny Lane (UCSC), and Dr. Jason Smith (MLML).
Cochrane G, A Ritchie, and D Finlayson
USGS Coastal and Marine Geology, Pacific Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA
NEW MULTIBEAM SONAR MAPPING OF NORTHERN MONTEREY BAY
The USGS has collected new high-resolution bathymetry and backscatter data over approximately 450 square km of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from Moss Landing north to Año Nuevo. Data were collected in California state waters in water depths ranging from less than 10 to 150 meters. The survey was conducted between August 14 and December 16, 2009, over a total of 59 survey days Processed bathymetry and backscatter are gridded to 2 m horizontal resolution. The mapping was done as part of the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP), a cooperative program to create a comprehensive coastal/marine geologic and habitat base map series for all of California's State waters. (http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/mapping/csmp/). The data will be published as part of a comprehensive map set that includes geologic and benthic habitat interpretations.
Donnelly, E (1,2), H Nevins (1,2) and JT Harvey (1)
PREY SELECTION AND PLASTIC INCIDENCE IN PACIFIC NORTHERN FULMARS (FULMARUS GLACIALIS) FROM MORTALITY EVENTS IN MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA IN 2003 AND 2007 (2 MB PDF)
Fulmars forage in Monterey Bay during the non-breeding winter months. Northern Fulmar diet includes cephalopods, fish, commercial fishery offal, and scavenged marine mammal carcasses. Fulmars are opportunistic feeders that forage at the surface, and often ingest plastic and other debris mistaken for prey. We examined stomach collected from beach cast birds found in 2003 (n = 12) and 2007 (n = 22). Stomach contents were sorted into the lowest taxonomic groupings based on beaks or other hard parts. Cephalopod beaks were identified to species using lower rostral lengths and comparing physical characteristics to a reference beak collection. Plastic was sorted into subcategories and enumerated. Incidence of user plastic was 100% (mean no.= 6.9) in 2003 and 90.0% (mean no. = 9.6) in 2007. Incidence of industrial pellets 25% (mean no.= 1) in 2003 and 50% (mean no. = 2.4) in 2007. Modified Indices of Relative Importance (mIRI) identified the 5 dominant cephalopod species for both years. Percent Similarity Index (66.43%) examined the diet similarities of the mIRI between the two years. Although 6 cephalopod families were identified 2003 and 7 in 2007, Gonatidae dominated the diet in both sampled years. Pacific Northern Fulmar diet has not been described in California in over a decade. These results indicate a high incidence of plastic and reliance on Gonatus spp. during the non-breeding season.
Foley, MM (1), BS Halpern (2), F Micheli (3), MH Armsby (1), MR Caldwell (1), CM Crain (4), E Prahler (1), and D Sivas (1)
GUIDING ECOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES FOR MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING (216 KB PDF)
The declining health of marine ecosystems around the world suggests that the current structure of sectoral governance is inadequate to successfully sustain human uses of the ocean and support healthy coastal and ocean ecosystems. One possible solution to this problem is ecosystem-based marine spatial planning (EB-MSP), which aims to maintain sustainable uses, healthy ecosystems, and the delivery of ecosystem services. In order to achieve these goals, EB-MSP must be based on ecological principles that articulate scientifically recognized attributes of healthy, functioning ecosystems that can be incorporated into a decision-making framework. We present recommendations based on a synthesis of previously suggested principles, along with recommendations generated by a group of twenty marine scientists with diverse backgrounds and perspectives on MSP. The four ecological principles - maintaining or restoring (1) native species diversity, (2) habitat diversity and heterogeneity, (3) key species, and (4) connectivity, and two additional guidelines, (1) context and (2) uncertainty - must be explicitly taken into account in the planning process. When applied in concert with social, economic, and governance principles, these ecological principles can inform the designation and siting of ocean uses and the management of activities in the ocean to maintain or restore healthy ecosystems, allow delivery of marine ecosystem services, and ensure resilient economic and social communities.
Frechette, D (1), AMK Osterback (2), SA Hayes (4), MH Bond (3), JW Moore (2), SA Shaffer (5), and JT Harvey (1)
BIRDS EAT FISH: TRACKING AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (168 KB PDF)
In central California, coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are endangered and steelhead (O. mykiss) are threatened, under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Until recently, the role of bird predation in limiting recovery of coho and steelhead in central California has been overlooked. The NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center uses Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT tags) to monitor population biology and marine survival of these species. Since 2006, PIT tags have been recovered on breeding sites of Western Gulls (Año Nuevo Island, San Mateo County), Caspian Terns (Brooks Island, San Francisco Bay), Common Murres and Brandt's Cormorants (Southeast Farallon Island). These recoveries of PIT tags suggest that predation by birds may a significant source of mortality for central California salmonids. To better understand the effect of avian predation on local populations of coho and steelhead, scientists at NOAA Fisheries, UC Santa Cruz, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and San Jose Sate University began a collaborative research effort in 2008. To date, 196 unique PIT tags have been recovered on Año Nuevo Island. The majority of these tags are located in the Western Gull breeding territory on the island. To further examine the effect of Western Gulls on central California salmonids, we captured Western Gulls at Scott and Waddell Creeks during Spring of 2008 and 2009 and tagged 72 gulls (33 in 2008 and 39 in 2009) with VHF transmitters. We are using radio-tracking to 1) locate roosting and breeding areas of birds to be scanned for the presence of PIT tags to improve estimates of predation, and 2) examine activity patterns of Western Gulls in relation to the outmigration of juvenile salmonids during the gull breeding season. During September of 2009, we also had the opportunity to scan breeding areas of several species of seabirds on Southeast Farallon Island (including Western Gulls, Common Murres, and Brandt's Cormorants). I will present preliminary results from these tagging and tracking studies, and results of PIT tag recoveries from trips to Año Nuevo and Southeast Farallon islands, and implications for local populations of salmoinds.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
THE EFFECT OF HABITAT VARIABILITY ON THE HOME RANGE SIZE OF TWO TEMPERATE REEF FISHES, KELP GREENLING AND KELP ROCKFISH
Movement defines how species interact with their environment and is fundamental to most ecological and evolutionary processes. Despite its importance to the fitness of individuals, the spatial structure and dynamics of populations, and the structure and connectivity of ecosystems, there has been little emphasis on the patterns and determinants of movement of temperate reef fishes in marine ecology. To investigate the effect of biological habitat on two species of temperate reef fishes I used acoustic telemetry to monitored the movement and habitat use of kelp greenling (Hexagrammos decagrammus) and kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) on rocky reefs of the Monterey Bay.
Kelp greenling and kelp rockfish have small home ranges on scales of several hundred square meters. Red algae and kelp density were identified as important habitat variables in kelp greenling and kelp rockfish home ranges, respectively. Male kelp greenling home range size correlated inversely with the density of red algae whereas kelp rockfish home range size was positively related to changes in kelp abundance. Their contrasting responses were consistent with their use of the respective algae as foraging habitat and shelter. Limited and discrete movement ranges reinforce the spatial heterogeneity of reef fish populations created by larval settlement and post-settlement mortality, including fishing. Knowledge of how movement is influenced by habitat variability is critical to understanding these species' population dynamics, species interactions and management in a changing environment.
Fura, R and J Lindholm
Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
SITE CHARACTERIZATION OF SEAFLOOR COMMUNITIES ADJACENT TO THE KLAMATH RIVER DELTA USING A TOWED CAMERA SLED (752 KB PDF)
Site characterizations of the marine environment advance our basic understanding marine systems in which little information is available and can provide critical baseline data to support future monitoring efforts. In 2007 the Yurok Tribe of northern California initiated a process to establish a National Marine Sanctuary to protect the marine environments adjacent to their ancestral homelands along the Klamath River. The objective of this study is to quantify species diversity, abundance and distribution of fish and invertebrate taxa in support of this process. In fall of 2008 a towed camera sled was used to collect continuous videographic data along the seafloor over low-relief unconsolidated sediments. Transect depths ranged from 40 m to 145 m, covering areas from 0.21 km2 to 1.04 km2. Analysis of video imagery revealed the presence of 41 species and 14,292 individual organisms. Preliminary analyses of the data revealed an increase in species diversity with depth. A significant change in species composition was observed at depths greater than 70m, where the dominant taxonomic group shifted from sessile invertebrates to mobile invertebrates. The data suggest the seafloor communities adjacent to the Klamath River are diverse and highly productive. The establishment of this baseline data set is not only crucial in moving forward with Yurok efforts to designate the area as a National Marine Sanctuary, but will also provide scientists and managers with a better understanding of the effects from natural and anthropogenic activities in the region.
Garske, LE (1), JL Largier (1), and PG Green (2)
AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING RUNOFF AND NEARSHORE 'ZONES OF IMPACT': EXAMPLE OF THE SAN LORENZO RIVER (SANTA CRUZ, CA) (1.5 MB PDF)
In the nearshore ocean environment, where some of the most intensely-studied marine ecosystems exist, we still understand relatively little about the transport and dynamics of freshwater flows originating from land and river runoff. Yet, exposure to harmful runoff constituents may be significant and concern remains among coastal managers, policymakers and others focused on ecological impacts. Here, we refer to 'zones of impact' (ZOIs) as the areas and periods where and when one predicts runoff pollution to impact humans and/or ecosystems due to inadequate dilution. In April 2008, we began estimating ZOIs near the San Lorenzo River with an interdisciplinary approach overlaying runoff constituent data from different media in the environment with a foundation of physical forces. As the third largest freshwater input to the Monterey Bay, the river closes off from the nearshore during late summer but mean winter discharge is ~15 cms-1 with peak flows occasionally reaching 500 cms-1. We collected physical data from an array of nearshore oceanographic instruments that we deployed for 4 extended periods through June 2009. From this, we estimated runoff exposure throughout a ~13 km2 area and found that exposure to runoff at sites several kilometers from the river mouth could vary by more than 80% throughout the year. In February 2009, we deployed series of passive sampling devices to evaluate dissolved metal concentrations in nearshore surface waters and collected tissue samples from adjacent kelp forest canopies; analyses were done using ICP-MS for 18 metal species.
González, D (1,2), J Jimenez (1,2), E Moya (1,2), and A Reyes (1,2)
PSEUDO NITZSCHIA: TINY CREATURES CAN HAVE A BIG IMPACT (136 KB PDF)
Most members of the community know little about plankton and the effects on harmful algal blooms. We chose to investigate Pseudo nitzschia which is a type of phytoplankton that produces domoic acid, a neurotoxin harmful to marine mammals as well as humans. We are partnered with scientists George Matsumoto of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Katie Roberts of UCSC. Per their advice, we went 6 times to the Santa Cruz Warf and performed two different tests each time. First, we performed two vertical plankton tows in order to take the samples back to school to observe them under a microscope. We also filtered 240 ml of ocean water in order to obtain samples that we will bring to the Kudela Lab at UCSC. We will analyze our filters for the presence or absence of Pseudo nitzschia. In addition to our data, we will obtain empirical data from the Kudela Lab which we will use to make comparisons. After obtaining and analyzing our results we plan to collaborate with local scientists to develop a means to teach and inform the public on the effects of Pseudo nitzschia on marine mammals and humans.
Guzman, D (1,2), J Huang (1,2), B Mireles (1,2), and E Paredes (1,2)
S.T.O.P (STOP TRASHING OUR PLANET): A COMPARISON BETWEEN AN URBANIZED AND A NON-URBANIZED BEACH (148 KB PDF)
Marine debris is a symptom of a water pollution problem that is caused by people's everyday lifestyle. It affects marine life and also poses a hazard to human health and safety. Beaches usually have garbage cans, but they are not always conveniently close to people. When garbage cans are not within people's reach, their natural instinct is to leave trash on the beach. In order to test the effect of garbage cans on beaches, we chose Palm and Seacliff Beach to be our testing sites. Palm Beach is more isolated from the city, and the garbage are in inconveniently and far locations. Whereas, Seacliff is more urbanized with buildings, and numerous garbage cans nearby. Our project will test which beach contains more trash, by collecting trash in an area of 250 feet by 250 feet. The collected trash will be categorized, measured, and recorded into our datasheet. When the data is complete, we will analyze the beaches by the amount and types of trash found. While the majority of the debris is floated up by tides, there is also trash being littered on the upper shore. We hope to encourage future students to stop littering; not only in the oceanic marine ecosystems, but also in the environment around us. Many students litter at our school, even though garbage cans are everywhere. Such garbage will then run down through the Pajaro River, into the ocean, and cause pollution.
California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
SPATIAL VARIATION IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF SOFT SEDIMENT SUBSTRATE TYPES AND DEMERSAL FISH COMMUNITIES, IMPLICATIONS FOR THE DESIGN OF EFFECTIVE MARINE PROTECTED AREAS (968 KB PDF)
Recent high-resolution seafloor mapping along the California continental shelf reveal the presence of abundant discreet patches of coarse sediment as a prominent feature of the near shore benthos. Commercially and ecologically important demersal fish species may use substrate patches differently for foraging, refuge, migration, or spawning based on sediment type. I propose to test the specific hypotheses that grain size, patch size, distance from ecotone, and depth influence the species richness and abundance of demersal fish communities in the near shore benthos. If these patches are ecologically important, resource management strategies, such as California's Marine Life Protection Act, should incorporate these habitats into the design and evaluation of MPAs. The purpose of this study will be to test the general hypothesis that differences in the spatial distribution of soft-bottom substrate types within a Marine Protected Area (MPA) can be an important determinant of the MPA's performance with respect to conservation of commercially exploited demersal fish species.
My general approach will be to use landscape ecology approaches to relate the distribution of coarse and fine grain sediment patches at three sites along the Central California coast to the distribution of demersal fish species, observed by a geo-referenced remotely operated vehicle (ROV). I will run video transects over sediment patches recording the presence of demersal fish and calculating species richness and density estimates. I will then conduct multivariate geostatistical analyses to determine which if any of the environmental variables measured significantly influences the distribution of demersal fish communities.
Honey, KT, PR Leary, MW Denny, SY Litvin, F Micheli, SG Monismith, R Moniz, and CB Woodson
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA
COLLABORATION AMONGST THE KELP: PROVIDING CRITICAL DATA AND MECHANISTIC UNDERSTANDING FOR MARINE MANAGEMENT (1.9 MB PDF)
In summer 2009, a team of Stanford University researchers began a project at the Hopkins Marine Station under a larger initiative to establish a Marine Life Observatory, which will provide long-term data on the health and functioning of nearshore marine ecosystems. This project, named the Environmental Venture Project (EVP), is a long-term collaboration between ecologists, biomechanists and engineers. The EVP goal is to reveal how small-scale physical and biological processes affect nearshore fish assemblages and ecosystem functioning and provide further mechanistic understanding of biophysical processes within kelp forests and nearshore marine systems. Increasingly, there is a growing awareness that large-scale patterns of distribution in marine organisms are often correlated with large-scale ocean dynamics. This suggests that the physical environment strongly influences the dynamics of marine populations. Our ability to predict population dynamics depends on understanding the mechanisms through which individuals are coupled to their physical environment, an understanding that is generally lacking. For example, to accurately assess the efficacy of marine protected areas (MPAs) and other spatial management interventions (e.g., ocean zoning) we need improved research strategies for, and interdisciplinary understanding of, how biophysical processes operate at the small scales contained within MPAs. Our EVP project addresses such research needs and will guide future efforts of the Marine Life Observatory. Long-term, this data collection, synthesis, and dissemination will answer questions about the impact of management decisions or environmental changes on marine ecosystems, which can then help inform future decision-making and ocean policy in central California.
Hutto, SV (1), SV Jeffries (1,2), AM Muth (1), and MH Graham (1)
GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION TRADEOFFS IN THE INTERTIDAL KELP ALARIA MARGINATA IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (652 KB PDF)
The tradeoff between growth and reproduction is critical in the ecological success of terrestrial plant, yet the impacts to the ecology of marine algae are poorly understood. Growth and reproduction were monitored in the central California annual kelp species Alaria marginata, from March 2009 to November 2009. During that time, the vegetative frond was measured for growth while the reproductive fronds, the sporophylls, were measured to quantify reproductive output. Biomass manipulations demonstrated that Alaria initially invests in months of vegetative growth during spring, before shifting to reproductive output during summer and fall. During the cessation of growth, if a portion of the vegetative blade is removed, subsequent growth of the vegetative blade does not occur. Reproductive output of the sporophylls, however, is significantly lower in Alaria that have had biomass removed versus those that have not. Our data suggest that Alaria cycles between distinct growth and reproductive periods, with resources gained during growth used to subsidize subsequent reproductive. If growth resources are diminished (e.g. with our biomass manipulations) the reproductive output of the sporophyte, and presumably its subsequent recruitment, is significantly impacted.
Jahncke, J (1), L Etherington (2), J Roletto (3), S Lyday (4), and K Graiff (2)
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA PELAGIC ECOSYSTEM STUDIES: AN INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP TO INFORM MANAGEMENT IN NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
We have initiated a partnership between a science organization and a Federal agency to inform management in support of marine wildlife conservation in central California, encompassing NOAA - National Marine Sanctuary waters (CBNMS, GFNMS and MBNMS) and the potential expansion area south of Point Arena, in Federal and State waters. Effective management and conservation of natural resources requires adaptive management strategies that are informed by robust analysis of past and present data. Our group has initiated integrated, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary research to monitor distribution, abundance and demography of marine wildlife in the context of underlying physical oceanographic processes. We are also working towards coordinated private and government research at an ecosystem scale to support a healthy marine ecosystem in the region. Some of the main potential issues we aim to address include 1) water quality (ecosystem effects of freshwater outflow), 2) ocean zoning (guide human uses to provide protection of the marine ecosystem), 3) fisheries (contribute to ecosystem-based management approaches) and 4) climate change (document effects of environmental change on the marine ecosystem). We will establish proper channels of communication with the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) and the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) which focuses on monitoring physical, chemical, and remotely sensed biological conditions in the ocean. The information we collect, while available upon request, will become available to collaborators as part of the California Avian Data Center (http://data.prbo.org/cadc). In addition, we will produce and disseminate an annual "North Central California Pelagic Ecosystem Status Report" to inform managers and policy-makers about wildlife responses to changes in ocean conditions and to mobilize public support for conservation.
Jahncke, J, M Elliott, R Bradley, J Roth, and P Warzybok
PRBO Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA
SEABIRD RESPONSES TO VARIABILITY IN COASTAL UPWELLING IN NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
We examined seabird responses to oceanographic conditions in the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. We tested the hypothesis that oceanographic processes influence the ecology of seabirds by means of changes in their prey availability. At short time scales, we found that delayed and reduced upwelling lead to changes in the zooplankton community and declines in the abundance of dominant zooplankton taxa in the water column. Most upper-trophic level predators satisfy their energy demands consuming crustacean zooplankton, particularly copepods and krill. Reduced availability of these prey species can have significant effects on timing of breeding, breeding success, and overall abundance and distribution, as demonstrated by auklet breeding failures on the Farallon Islands in 2005 - 2006. At long time scales, we found that some species initiated breeding earlier and were more successful under cool, productive ocean conditions, although non-linear relationships suggested that spring transitions occurring early in the year are detrimental to some species. Strong El Niño events had drastic, negative effects on both timing and success of seabird breeding. We also found several unexpected relationships showing increased breeding success under what are traditionally regarded as unfavorable conditions (e.g.,Cassin's Auklet breeding success increased with sea surface temperature). Long-term trend analyses indicated a trend toward earlier spring transitions, an increase in Brandt's Cormorant breeding success, and a marginally significant trend toward earlier breeding for Common Murres from 1972 - 2007.
California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
VARIABLE EFFECTS OF ULVA SPP. ON DISSOLVED OXYGEN DYNAMICS (792 KB PDF)
Increased nutrient loading in Elkhorn Slough from the Salinas River and surrounding watersheds is the presumed cause of observed increases in primary productivity. This eutrophication has resulted in negative ecological consequences, such as night time hypoxia and anoxia. Ulva lactuca and Ulva intestinalis are the two most abundant algal species in the slough. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of U. lactuca and U. intestinalis on dissolved oxygen (DO) variability in Elkhorn Slough. We established three algal biomass to water volume ratios based on previously collected data in Elkhorn Slough. Estuarine water was collected from South Marsh, U. lactuca from Whistle-stop Lagoon and U. intestinalis from North Marsh Tide Gate. We conducted a light:dark mesocosm experiment of three biomass treatments (high, medium, and low) for both species, and a control in 15 gallon buckets. The buckets were kept outside in the sun for three hours to measure daytime effects of photosynthesis. All treatments were moved to a dark room to simulate night time conditions. Dissolved oxygen averages for all three U. lactuca biomass treatments were significantly different from each other while there were no significant effects of U. intestinalis biomass on DO dynamics. Neither of the low treatments were significantly different than the control, which contained no algae. These results indicate that Elkhorn Slough water quality management efforts should focus on areas that are poorly flushed and hypoxic, because most areas within the slough are eutrophic but not all go hypoxic.
Kahn, AS (1), GI Matsumoto (2), YM Hirano (3), and AG Collins (4)
HALICLYSTUS CALIFORNIENSIS, A "NEW" SPECIES OF STAUROMEDUSA (CNIDARIA: STAUROZOA) FROM THE NORTHEAST PACIFIC (780 KB PDF)
A new species of stauromedusa, Haliclystus californiensis, (Cnidaria: Staurozoa) was found within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and from southern to northern California. Though discussed in numerous works as a nomen nudum (Gwilliam 1956; Hirano 1997), Haliclystus californiensis is now formally described. Its addition brings the genus Haliclystus up to 11 species from four ocean basins. It differs from other species within the genus primarily by its horseshoe-shaped anchors and the presence of glandular pads at the base of its outermost secondary tentacles, as well as by geographic range. A single specimen was originally described in an unpublished dissertation by Gwilliam (1956); nine additional specimens have been found since that time. Here we describe this beautiful and uncommon new species from the northeastern Pacific.
Kelly, MK (1), J Lindholm (1), A Knight (1), D Kline (1), and J De Marignac (2)
QUANTIFYING THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE BLACKEYE GOBY, RHINOGOBIOIPS NICHOLSI, AROUND TEMPERATE REEFS OFF THE CENTRAL COAST OF CALIFORNIA
A clear understanding of how species interact with each other as well as their habitat is necessary for successful management of marine ecosystems. Rhinogobiops nicholsi is an abundant small prey species that frequents the sand/rock interface along the edge of temperate reefs, and is ideal for a habitat interaction study. Because of this, R. nicholsi was used to quantify the halo of productivity around temperate rocky reefs. A halo of productivity is considered to be the area in which reef associated species spill over into the surrounding non-reef environment. To quantify this halo, video transects from a towed camera sled in 2008 were analyzed for the presence of R. nicholsi and their relationship to temperate reefs. Data were collected at several locations within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. A pair of 10 cm sizing lasers were used to calculate the distance between individual R. nicholsi and the nearest hard substrate. A mean distance of 0.40 m was calculated, indicating that the halo for this species is fairly small. During the data analysis, a distinct green color morph was observed. This color morph is hypothesized to be associated with substrate, with green individuals occurring over rock and white over sand. Corresponding with this, there was also a difference in the distance that the two colors were observed from hard substrate: green 0.14 m and white 0.44 m. This study has provided new knowledge about R. nicholsi, as well as a new data collection method for similar reef associated species.
Kerkez, I and F Micheli
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA
IMPACTS OF VISITATION ON THE STRUCTURE OF MUSSEL BEDS (MYTILUS CALIFORNIANUS) IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA: ARE THERE BENEFITS OF RESTRICTED ACCESS? (564 KB PDF)
A rapidly expanding human population, particularly along the coast places increased pressure on rocky intertidal habitats. Visitation to the intertidal may cause impacts through the harvesting of organisms for food, bait or ornamentation and trampling which crushes and dislodges organisms like barnacles, mussels and macroalgae. Marine reserves were established to provide protection against such disturbance with legislation preventing extractive and destructive activities yet harvesting may continue where enforcement is weak or altogether lacking and trampling associated with foot traffic from the visitors attracted to reserves may threaten the persistence of vulnerable species. De facto reserves or areas where access and/or use are restricted for reasons other than conservation, may provide additional conservation benefits, compared to reserves, because of limited or no public access to these areas. The objectives of this study were: (1) to assess the impacts of human visitation to the shore on an important intertidal biogenic habitat, mussel beds; and (2) to determine whether de facto reserves offer additional protection benefits compared to marine reserves. We compared the structure of intertidal mussel beds (Mytilus californianus) in de facto reserves, marine reserves and open access areas of central California. Results indicate de facto reserves provide benefits for mussel populations in terms of abundance, size of individuals and thicker beds. These results indicate that for more effective protection of intertidal habitats and associated assemblages, attention to disturbance associated with visitation is needed.
Kim, T and F Micheli
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA
GLOBAL DIMMING OR WARMING: THE EFFECT OF SOLAR RADIATION AND TEMPERATURE VARIABILITY ON THE INVASION OF MARINE FOULING SPECIES
Climate change can alter the community structure as species which have adapted to the changed climate can compete better with other species. It can also influence the recruitment and invasion success of marine introduced species. Climate change involves not only global warming but also global dimming. However, it was not tested which of warming or dimming factors more significantly influences the invasion of marine species. To test this, we manipulated both temperature variability and light radiation by deploying different shading devices (black, white, transparent, and no treatment) for recruitment tiles in the warmer region where the species invasion rate is high. We compared the species frequency and coverage between shaded and non-shaded treatments. Interestingly, under opaque white plates where light radiation is lower than under transparent plates but the temperature is higher than under black plates, tiles had the highest frequency and coverage of invasive fouling species. The recruitment tiles under black plates got second higher invasion of exotic species. We also deployed recruitment tiles in 14 different sites to determine if temperature influences the success of invasive species. The coverage of invasive species over native species increased significantly with increasing temperature. The results suggest that both low radiation and higher temperature facilitate the success of species invasion in the intertidal region.
Krigsman, L (1), M Yoklavich (1), E Dick (1), and G Cochrane (2)
MULTIVARIATE MODELS TO PREDICT DISTRIBUTION OF STRUCTURE-FORMING BENTHIC INVERTEBRATES
The California Seafloor Mapping Project (CSMP) is a collaborative venture designed to create comprehensive maps of the seafloor, which are derived from high-resolution multibeam echo sounder data collected within state waters (shoreline to 3 nautical miles). CSMP will result in a suite of maps detailing seafloor morphology and geology, and characterizing potential benthic habitats. Groundtruthing these seafloor data and surveying biological components of benthic habitats are a major part of CSMP. We are using a towed camera sled to collect presence/absence data of macro-invertebrates associated with specific sediment types, depth, and latitude. We have developed multivariate models using logistic regression to predict the distribution of key species (including some deepsea coral species), and couple these results with spatial information on sediments and depth to map the probability of occurrence of these important components of seafloor communities on a coast-wide scale. These maps will provide managers, policy makers, and the public with information that can be used in the conservation and management of sustainable marine resources. We will demonstrate this approach using data from southern California.
California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
IS E. COLI IN VEGETATED WATERWAYS IN AGRICULTURAL SETTINGS A FOOD SAFETY THREAT?
The 2006 Escherichia coli spinach outbreak lead to the development of new marketing standards for leafy green vegetables to protect consumers, including prohibition of wetlands and non-food vegetation near fields. In order to test whether vegetated waterways are a food safety threat or an unnecessary precaution, we monitored three to four vegetated systems in the Central Coast area of California for E. coli concentrations on a weekly basis during the growing season of 2008 and 2009 and compared our results to the published Leafy Green Manufacturing Association (LGMA) standards for water quality. The water at the inlet of these vegetated water treatment systems exceeded the LGMA standard for E. coli concentrations for irrigational use on crops on 26 occasions or 18.7% of the sampling events. Outlet water exceeded this LGMA standard a total of 11 occasions or 8.0% of sampling events. Not all vegetated treatment systems exhibited the same performance level, indicating a need for further study of the reason for these differences. One treatment system developed a preferential flow path during the course of the study and showed diminished performance when flow bypassed the vegetation. Overall, the vegetated treatment systems demonstrated a reduced tendency to exceed the LGMA standard at the outlet as compared with the inlet, indicating that vegetated treatment systems may be helpful toward food safety objectives in some agricultural settings.
Lane, JQ (1), DM Paradies (2), KR Worcester (3), and RM Kudela (1)
DESCRIPTION OF FRESHWATER EUTROPHIC SOURCES TO MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA, WITH CATEGORIZATION ACCORDING TO NUTRIENT RATIO CHARACTERISTICS
Blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia in central California have alternately been linked to river discharge and/or upwelling processes; a recently published model for toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia blooms in Monterey Bay, CA suggests resolution of these viewpoints through the consideration of seasonality (Lane et al. 2009). The development of seasonal models identified Pajaro River discharge and nitrate concentration as significant predictors specific to the period of the year when, by definition, local oceanographic conditions are not dominated by upwelling processes. As described by the models, river discharge, through concentrated low-flow periods and 'load' events, may provide a eutrophic source of nitrogen conducive to seasonal bloom formation, while allaying immediate bloom formation during periods of peak discharge. The Pajaro River introduces disproportionately large nitrate loads on a highly seasonal basis, and is frequently paired with nitrate in conversations on changing regional water quality: nitrate concentration in the Pajaro River has risen from <0.1 mM in the 1950's to levels that regularly exceed the drinking-water standard of 0.714 mM (Ruehl et al. 2007). Historical perspectives on the relative significance (or insignificance) of freshwater N-loading to the Monterey Bay system were clearly based on assumptions that no longer apply, and these perspectives are due for re-evaluation. In response to the model results, and to recent evidence that Pseudo-nitzschia growth dynamics and toxicity vary according to N-substrate (nitrate, urea, ammonium), we present quantitative and comparative results from the collection of nitrate, orthophosphate, silicic acid, urea, and ammonium samples at: (1) river outflows (monthly), (2) wastewater treatment effluent outflows (quarterly), and (3) stormdrain outflows (seasonally). Categorization of these eutrophic sources according to nutrient ratio characteristics is also discussed. For context, and to further our assessment of freshwater N-loading relative significance (or insignificance), daily estimates of nitrate loading by rivers and by wind-driven upwelling are presented for 2005 - 2007 and compared over multiple timescales (annual, monthly, weekly).
Ruehl CR, Fisher AT, Los Huertos M, Wankel SD, Wheat CG, Kendall C, Hatch CE, Shennan C (2007) Nitrate dynamics within the Pajaro River, a nutrient-rich, losing stream J. North American Benthological Society 26(2):191-206.
Lindholm, J (1), M Gleason (2), D Kline (1), and L Clary (1)
RECOVERY TRAJECTORIES IN SEAFLOOR COMMUNITIES IMPACTED BY TRAWLING ALONG THE CENTRAL COAST OF CALIFORNIA (1.2 MB PDF)
The fact that fishing with mobile, bottom-contact fishing gear (such as otter trawls) impacts the seafloor and associated biological communities is now axiomatic. A growing number of trawling bans worldwide indicates that policy-makers have recognized this fact. Considerably less is known, however, about the recovery of the seafloor following such disturbance, particularly in the unconsolidated sediments of California's continental shelf where trawling predominates.
Further, while the current footprint of trawling activity may be at an historical low, there is no guarantee this will remain the case indefinitely. Nor do the data necessarily indicate that trawling bans are warranted in all habitats. To-date, absent well-designed reference areas, we have had to make due with opportunistic studies in temporary fishing closures that may or may not have been closed to protect seafloor habitats, but that were clearly not closed for the purposes of research. These opportunistic studies have nevertheless provided solid insights into the recovery of micro-topographic structure and invertebrate communities in previously trawled areas. Now a unique academic-NGO-stakeholder partnership on a project off Morro Bay has the potential to yield important new insights into the recovery of soft sediment communities on the continental shelf. Ultimately, the goal of these studies is to advance ecosystem based approaches to management and marine spatial planning in the interests of those who fish, those who love fish, and those who love to eat fish.
Loury, EK (1), RM Starr (2), S Bros-Seeman (3), GM Cailliet (1), DA Ebert (1), and DE Wendt (4)
TROPHIC ECOLOGY OF THE GOPHER ROCKFISH (SEBASTES CARNATUS) INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF MARINE PROTECTED AREAS IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (2.9 MB PDF)
No-take marine reserves are predicted to affect the trophic interactions of an ecosystem by increasing the size and abundance of fish predators within their borders. Gopher rockfish (Sebastes carnatus) were collected during the summers of 2007-2009 to examine trophic dynamics in four new central California marine protected areas established in 2007 (Año Nuevo, Point Lobos, Piedras Blancas, and Point Buchon). Fish were also collected in a portion of the "old" Point Lobos State Marine Reserve closed to fishing since 1973, and in four unprotected reference sites of similar depth and habitat type. Body mass/length ratios were calculated and compared among locations, and dietary composition was determined by traditional stomach content analysis. Randomized block ANOVAs of the 2007 and 2008 data indicate that fish from the old (1973) Point Lobos MPA had significantly greater mass per length than fish from the new Point Lobos MPA or reference site (p = 0.007). However, there were no significant differences between MPAs and reference sites (p = 0.161), or among geographic areas (p = 0.114) for all new MPAs. Ophiuroids and decapod crustaceans were dominant prey items at the old Point Lobos State Marine Reserve and reference site, with mysid shrimp also dominant in the reference site. Future work on this study will elucidate sources of spatial and temporal variation in gopher rockfish diet, establish a baseline of trophic interactions at four new reserves, and help evaluate the long-term (35 year) trophic effect of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve.
Macleod, A, A Reynaga, and OM Cheriton
Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
ONMS-PISCO OCEANOGRAPHIC MOORING ARRAY: MONITORING OCEANOGRAPHIC CONDITIONS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND ECOLOGICAL PATTERNS AND INFORM MARINE PROTECTED AREA EVALUATION (1.1 MB PDF)
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) and PISCO have established collaborative research and monitoring programs throughout the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), including long-term monitoring of the biological communities associated with both rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal environments (e.g., kelp forests). Closely located near many of these ecological monitoring stations are oceanographic moorings. This extensive network of moorings, called the ONMS-PISCO oceanographic mooring array, was developed through a joint venture between ONMS and PISCO to monitor temporal and spatial patterns of near-shore circulation and water temperature in the MBNMS. Along the central coast of California, the MBNMS encompasses 19 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Because physical processes can strongly influence important biological processes such as nutrient supply, growth rates, larvae transport, and primary productivity, the development of MPA monitoring programs that take into account oceanographic variability is a critical step in our ability to accurately assess whether a given MPA is meeting its design objectives. Recently, seven benthic moorings were added to the ONMS-PISCO oceanographic mooring array for the purpose of monitoring hydrographic conditions within, and just outside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Here we describe the new design and operation of the ONMS-PISCO oceanographic mooring array in the context of MPA development, monitoring, and evaluation.
San Lorenzo Valley High School Watershed Academy, Felton, Ca
SALMONIDS BY NUMBERS II: A PREDICTIVE SIMULATION-ANALYSIS OF SAN LORENZO RIVER FISH POPULATIONS (584 KB PDF)
Salmonids, specifically the Central California Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Steelhead Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have experienced population decline in the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz County, California from the combined effects of water diversion, sediment accumulation, rising water temperatures, and lack of cover or excessive debris in their habitat. Last year, I compiled many years of salmonid population data, collected at the Rubber Dam in Henry Cowell State Park, into a digitized format. My subsequent statistical analysis showed that the level of the river's flow is one of the most important factors affecting salmonid mortality. This year, my research focuses on computationally simulating many of the factors (streamflow, predation, water quality, etc.) to more accurately predict salmonid populations. By nature, the computer model correlates with existing data and can be used to roughly predict future salmonid populations potentially several decades in advance. The model's predictions combined with a website listing the data will be a boon to effective resource management. Thanks go to Terry Umstead, SLVHS Aquaculture Instructor, for providing the population data and direction in the original research.
Maxwell, S (1), S Shaffer (2), B Mate (3), S Bograd (4), W Henry(1), M Kappes (5), G Breed (1), H Bailey (4), M Weise (6), C Kuhn (7), P Robinson (1), and D Costa (1)
MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING AND THE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES: THE IMPORTANCE OF APEX PREDATORS IN PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE (1.1 MB PDF)
Understanding how apex predators use marine protected areas is crucial to implementing marine spatial management. We satellite tracked blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) (n=77), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) (n=21) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) (n=79), sooty shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) (n=26), black-footed albatrosses (Diomedea nigripes) (n=38) and Laysan albatrosses (D. immutabilis) (n=99) between 2004 and 2009 to determine their patterns of habitat utilization within the California Current System, especially in relation to the U.S. West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries. Tracks were processed using state-space models and home ranges were calculated using the local convex hull home range estimator. We found that high density (50% utilization density or greater) areas of use occurred within Sanctuaries 10% (range 3-11%) for all species, and ranged between 3 and 46% of the time for individual species. This highlighted the need for large-scale protection of habitats and the importance of the current spatial continuity of the sanctuaries. Shifts in distribution patterns occurred between years and seasons, particularly during anomalous oceanographic years with higher sea surface temperatures. These data also indicate areas of high use outside the Sanctuaries that should be considered for future Sanctuary sites and/or in the West Coast Marine Spatial Planning process. This work acts as a framework for marine spatial management to show how umbrella and indicator species can be used to identify areas of high use that should be zoned to allow for the greatest levels of protection.
Miller, P and D Epel
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA
BAD ACID: ENGAGING STUDENTS IN AN INQUIRY-BASED ONLINE OCEAN ACIDIFICATION ACTIVITY (80 KB PDF)
Carbon dioxide is dramatically rising as a result of human activity. Two disturbing consequences are global warming and ocean acidification. As the atmospheric carbon dioxide level increases, so does the ocean's carbon dioxide concentration. This, in turn, results in a decrease in pH. In the last 20 years, ocean acidity has increased by 30% and is rising steadily. The Epel Lab at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, in cooperation with Michael Thorndyke's Lab at the Sven Loven Marine Science Center in Sweden, created the virtual lab "Acid Ocean" to engage students in an inquiry-based investigation. Students assume the role of scientists, using a virtual lab bench and current research data on the growth of a model organism, the sea urchin, in the larval stage of development.
The virtual lab, posted at http://virtualurchin.stanford.edu/AcidOcean.htm, first presents evidence for the change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and change in pH of the world's oceans. Students also investigate possible scenarios for the future as they relate to our production of carbon dioxide.
Students then work at a virtual lab bench to set up larval cultures in today's ocean pH level of 8.1 and a predicted ocean pH level of 7.6, using the protocol of scientists Jason Hodin in Epel's Lab and Sam Dupont in Thorndyke's Lab. They then analyze the results of their experiment by analyzing measuriements of the growth of their sea urchin larva in both control and experimental groups. They also compare their averages and standard deviations to those of the class.
Department of Science & Environmental Policy, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
LOTTIA GIGANTEA SIZE AND ABUNDANCE DIFFERENCES IN ROCKY INTERTIDAL COMMUNITIES IN MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA (124 KB PDF)
Owl limpets (Lottia gigantea) are ecologically important grazers that live on exposed rocky intertidal coasts. They are impacted by human visitation and harvesting due to limitations of enforcement in coastal rocky intertidal areas. The objective of this study is to investigate size structure and abundance patterns of Lottia gigantea at locations with different levels of vulnerability to human visitation and human foraging along the central coast of California. Limpet surveys were conducted at six locations in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), three with low vulnerability to and three with high vulnerability to visitor use. Invertebrate species diversity was recorded and the number L. gigantea were counted and the length of their sagittal plane recorded over a period of one year at each site. The number of visitors and their behavior, either active (trampling, removing, or touching organisms) or passive (observing, not touching organisms) were recorded at each location. The results of this study demonstrate that there is a difference in owl limpet size distribution and abundance patterns; specifically there are larger individuals with lower abundance in areas with high vulnerability and smaller individuals with higher abundance in areas with low vulnerability. Human mediated reductions in population size may alter individual energetics and pose questions regarding unintended effects of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on community level dynamics. Longer term, this study will provide baseline data that may be used to assess the health of coastal marine ecosystems.
Moran, C and L Ferry-Graham
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
JAW KINEMATICS DURING SCRAPING IN GIRELLA NIGRICANS (KYPHOSIDAE)
Marine herbivory is common in fishes that inhabit tropical waters but is rare at temperate latitudes. Despite the abundance of herbivorous diet items, at temperate latitudes, only a few families of fish are able to utilize this food source. Herbivorous food is considered a low quality diet item as they are chemically defended, securely attached, and poorly digested. A novel jaw joint called the intramandibular jaw joint has independently arisen in several lineages and is thought to assist in procurement of such diet items by creating a large flat tooth bearing surface. We are investigating the kinematics of several features integral to herbivory, including the intramandibular joint, in the local Girella nigricans (Kyphosidae). High speed video of G. nigricans were taken at 250 frames/sec while the fish scraped a gelatin block. Mean kinematic profiles we created for cranial elevation, lower jaw depression, opercular flexion, premaxillary rotation, and flexion of the intramandibular joint. Linear excursion of the premaxilla and gape distance were also recorded. Angular excursion of the premaxilla, lower jaw and cranium appeared to all reach a maximum in synchrony, around 0.1 seconds. Unlike suction feeding fish, there appeared to be little linear excursion of the premaxilla. Bending at the intramandibular joint was noted when biting at the food source and served to enlarge the gape. We have yet to determine if this bending is actively controlled by the fish or is a passive response to the prey substrate.
Nakagawa, MS (1), J Adams (1,2), EE Mcphee-Shaw (1), and JT Harvey (1)
RESPONSE OF NON-BREEDING SOOTY SHEARWATERS (PUFFINUS GRISEUS) TO SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL VARIABILITY IN WINDS WITHIN THE CALIFORNIA CURRENT SYSTEM (1.1 MB PDF)
Sooty Shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) are the most abundant avian predator in the California Current System (CCS); however, their movements during the upwelling (non-breeding) season have not been well studied. They often forage in huge flocks (>100,000) and consume massive amounts of forage fish, potentially impacting fish availability for other marine predators. We examined the at-sea movements of non-breeding shearwaters in the CCS during the upwelling season of 2008. We attached satellite transmitters to 28 birds in June-July 2008 in three previously documented high-use shearwater areas: Columbia River Plume (CR, n = 7), Monterey Bay, (MB, n = 12) and Santa Barbara Channel (SB, n = 9). Shearwaters displayed coordinated movements in response to changes in oceanographic conditions. Birds tagged in CR departed the CR region dispersing on July 5-6 (86% of CR birds), concurrent with a sudden change from downwelling favorable winds to upwelling favorable winds that persisted for ~2 weeks. The CR birds appeared to seek out other regions (e.g., known upwelling shadow regions) when upwelling favorable winds were present in CR, and did not return for the remainder of the season. By mid-July, most birds from all three sites aggregated in Morro and San Luis Bays and remained there through September. Forty percent of birds tagged in MB and 44% of birds tagged in SB made forays northward to CR and MB before leaving for the southern hemisphere. All tagged birds displayed a coordinated return migration, leaving southern California between September 29 and October 12.
Nevins, H (1,3), J Harvey (1), J De Marignac (2), A DeVogelaere (2), C Gibble (1), E Donnelly (1), C Young (1,3), D Jessup (3), and Beachcombers Volunteers
BEACHCOMBERS DOCUMENT SIGNIFICANT HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS IN THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY, 1997 - 2009 (1.1 MB PDF)
Since 1997, we have conducted 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 deposition (birds km-1mo.-1) of beached birds and identified unusual mortality events using a standard deposition index. We maintain a network of scientists, researchers and resource managers to enable early detection and investigation of mortality events. During this time we have documented 16 significant mortality events, including those related to human activities such as fishery interactions (2), oil spills (1) and those caused by natural phenomena including reduction in prey and starvation (5). In recent years (2005 to present), the frequency (1 to 2) and severity of mortality events related to algal blooms indicated by an order of magnitude increase in deposition rates of marine birds. During the most recent 2009 Akashiwo event, we documented increased deposition of both nearshore species, including sea ducks (Melanitta spp.), loons (Gavia spp.), grebes (Aechmophorus spp.), and one offshore species, the Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis).
Parrish-Kuhn, C (1), J Lindholm (1), M Carr (2), and C Dawson (3)
SEASONAL VARIATION IN THE ABUNDANCE, DIVERSITY, AND COMMUNITY COMPOSITION OF KELP FOREST FISHES USING THE REEF CHECK MONITORING PROTOCOL
Increasing anthropogenic impacts to California's kelp forest ecosystems, coupled with the recent designation of a state-wide network of marine protected areas (MPAs) throughout California, requires a comprehensive monitoring effort. Yet in these trying financial times monitoring programs (in kelp forests or elsewhere) are increasingly limited by financial and personnel constraints. One response to these limitations is the development of citizen-based monitoring programs (such as Reef Check California) that are intended to augment traditional monitoring programs. The successful incorporation of data from these new programs into the broader monitoring effort throughout California is dependent on a detailed understanding of precisely what types of data are being produced. For instance, it is critical to sample at a frequency that captures seasonal variations in the taxa of interest. We are using the Reef Check California protocols to monitor the diversity, abundance, and community composition of 33 kelp forest fishes at MacAbee Reef in Monterey, California. Monthly sampling began in March 2009 and will proceed through August 2010. Results of monthly sampling to-date suggest that there is considerable variability among the fishes with respect to abundance, with less variation in diversity and community composition over time. We expect the trajectories of these data to change as we continue to sample through the winter and with the potential influence of a growing El Nino. Ultimately our goal is to understand how data from citizen monitoring programs can be meaningfully incorporated into the management of California's MPAs and beyond.
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, CA
DON'T BE SCARED, JUST SWIM AWAY: THE C-START ESCAPE RESPONSE IN FOUR SPECIES OF SURFPERCHES (EMBIOTOCIDAE) FROM CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (9.8 MB PDF)
Surfperches exhibit a C-start escape response to avoid disturbances, such as predators. This fast-start response consists of bending their body into a "C" shape, immediately followed by swinging their tail in the opposite direction to propel away from a stimulus. We hypothesized that barred, shiner, black, and pile surfperches would differ in their escape response due to variations in their fin morphology. To address this hypothesis, we collected four species with varying pectoral fin angles (range: 35 to 51°) and aspect ratio (range: 2.63 to 4.24). Each fish was acclimated in a tank for 24 hours. We elicited C-starts from individual fish, recording the escape response with a high-speed digital camera at 250 fps. We measured the maximum angle of body curvature during Stage 1 and 2, duration of Stage 1 and 2, duration of the entire C-start escape response, escape trajectory angle (ETA), and peak angular velocity (degrees/sec). We conducted a PCA on the seven variables to reduce the dimensionality of the dataset. ANOVA was then performed on the principal component scores (PCs), followed by LSD post hoc tests to reveal where significant differences, if any, occurred. PC1 described duration of Stages 1 and 2, Stage 1 angle, total escape response duration, ETA, and peak angular velocity. PC2 also described Stage1 angle and duration, and ETA. Shiner surfperch had the fastest response with pile surfperch being the slowest and least maneuverable. Barred surfperch achieved the greatest body curvature and the second fastest response time. Morphological and physiological differences among these species seemed to be the reasons for the varying performances in the C-start escape response.
Quan, S, R Kvitek and DP Smith
Seafloor Mapping Lab, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
AN APPLICATION OF VESSEL-BASED LIDAR TO QUANTIFY COASTAL RETREAT IN SOUTHERN MONTEREY BAY, CA (944 KB PDF)
Coastal erosion has become a prominent issue in Monterey Bay, California. Areas at high risk include native coastal dunes, private and public beachfront properties, municipal sewage lines, and areas of the highway 1 corridor. Traditional airborne LiDAR has been an effective but costly method for measuring coastal topography by providing high resolution and broad coverage. In 1997 and 1998, NASA, USGS, and NOAA collaborated to conduct pre-and post-El Niño airborne LiDAR surveys of the California coastline. Since then, there have been no further, publically available LiDAR surveys of the Monterey Bay shoreline. The goal of this project is to apply a vessel-based LiDAR system to measure coastal geomorphology, determine the efficacy of vessel-based topographic LiDAR for mapping coastal geomorphology, and quantify the spatial distribution of coastal retreat for Southern Monterey Bay, California. The area of study was the Monterey Bay coastline from Monterey harbor, CA north to Marina State Beach at Reservation Road. Sea cliff morphology data were measured on Dec 9thand 10th, 2008 through the use of a terrestrial LiDAR system mounted atop the CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab's R/V VenTresca. These vessel based LiDAR data were compared with 1998 NOAA Airborne Topographic Mapper LiDAR data using mapping and spatial analysis tools in ArcGIS to quantify the spatial distribution of coastal retreat and calculate annualized rates of erosion for the Monterey Bay shoreline over the past decade. In keeping with previous published work based on other methods, preliminary results show positive relationships between both dune apron retreat and volumetric change along an increasing gradient from south to north. Average dune apron retreat rate for the study area was 0.92 m/yr. We conclude that vessel-based mobile topographic LiDAR is an efficient, cost-effective, high resolution method for annual sea cliff geomorphic change detection highly useful for coastal planning.
Division of Science and Environmental Policy, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
MODELING NORTHERN ELEPHANT SEAL ROOKERIES IN CALIFORNIA BASED ON BATHYMETRY (620 KB PDF)
As the northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris population increases, new rookeries are being established in unexpected locations which pose a number of potential threats for humans, domesticated animals, and the elephant seals. The goal of this exploratory study was to address the lack of knowledge regarding rookery placement by modeling rookeries in California in relation to major bathymetric features. Distance rasters were created for seamounts, banks, isobaths, and escarpments near California and the distance from these features to rookeries and available coastal habitat was determined. These distance values were fitted to 25 logistic regression models that contained different combinations of bathymetric features. Importance values for seamounts/banks, the 400 m isobath, and the 200 m isobath indicate that the distance to these features is influential for rookery location, with seamounts/banks being the most important. The best-fit model implies that rookeries are most likely to occur near seamounts/banks and the 400 m isobath. We suggest that these bathymetric features may be important due to their proximity to food resources.
Watershed Academy, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
BIRDS OF QUAIL HOLLOW RANCH: A STUDY OF HABITAT ASSOCIATION (368 KB PDF)
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park, nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, is well-known for its natural diversity. Among the most understudied, however, is the park's avian life. This project was designed to provide an insight to the birds of the park, as limited information is known and no other documented, scientific study of birds has been performed at this biologically important area. From the 1920's, Quail Hollow Ranch's landscape has changed dramatically. Formerly an open grassland surrounded by sand chaparral and sand parkland, mixed evergreen forest and riparian associated habitats have become dominant through secondary succession. As habitats appear and disappear, avian species do as well. This led us to ask "What bird species are habitat specialists and what is their abundance?" We have been birding Quail Hollow Ranch since 2003 and began a formal study in late summer 2009 using binoculars, GPS and a weather indicator. Through a process of weekly monitoring using point-counts, we are able to analyze and interpret which species occur in the park, and determine their habitat associations. This will provide a "guide" to the park's present avifauna, and how it may change as ecological succession proceeds.
California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
PROMOTING A STANDARDIZED METHOD FOR THE QUANTIFICATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF BEACH LITTER ON 12 BEACHES IN THE MONTEREY BAY (532 KB PDF)
The ingestion of rubber balloons and plastic bags has been documented as leading to fatalities in marine species. New legislation to reduce the use of non-recyclable materials is expected to reduce the amount of land-based debris littering beaches and entering our oceans, negatively impacting marine wildlife. To help address these potentially harmful plastics, I created a standardized method which allowed volunteers to survey the types and quantities of beach litter at 12 beaches within the Monterey Bay. Beach surveys started in July 2009 and will continue through June 2010. Beach surveys are cost efficient, require little equipment, and can utilize less experienced surveyors. Survey locations include Main Beach, Seabright, Live Oak, Capitola, New Brighton, Sea Cliff, Manresa, Sunset, Zmudowski, Marina, Seaside, and Del Monte. Significance has been found between beach location and abundance of litter (p<0.05). I will be analyzing the spatial difference among litter type, beach location, and season. Thus far plastic products are the most prevalent and the north regions of the Bay experience more litter. This baseline study promotes community involvement in the scientific process, raises environmental awareness, and will help to evaluate the policy successes in abating beach litter. MBNMS can use my baseline study to plan future research projects in monitoring, tracking, identifying, and ultimately the removal of debris.
Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), Long Marine Laboratory, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA
MONITORING MPAS BY SCUBA IN WATERS OFF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA" AN INFORMATIONAL BOOKLET (200 KB PDF)
In September 2007, the first MLPA MPA network was created on the California central coast designated by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The central coast study region (CCSR) was the first of the five statewide study regions to be passed through the MLPA planning process and is composed of 29 MPAs that represent approximately 204 square miles or 18% of the state waters within the CCSR. Its range extends from Pigeon Point in the north to Point Conception in the south.
On implementation of the central coast network, baseline monitoring programs in subtidal ecosystems were initiated by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) with funding from the California Ocean Protection Council administered by California Sea Grant and UC Santa Cruz. Of the 29 MPA's, 17 contain kelp forests, 14 of which can be safely sampled using SCUBA.
To communicate the findings of these studies, PISCO, in collaboration with NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation (MBSF), and the California Sea Grant program have created an informational booklet titled "Monitoring MPAs by SCUBA in waters off Central California". The booklet presents pictographic representations of data gathered as part of the subtidal baseline monitoring in MLPA state marine protected areas in 2007 and 2008. This booklet is presented as a compliment to independently led booklets that have been created for the same purpose, these are listed below.
Title: California's Central Coast Marine Protected Areas, Baseline Data Collection Summary Report (2008)
Title: Monitoring MPAs in Deep Water Off Central California, 2007 IMPACT Submersible Baseline Survey (2008)
Future efforts to lead development of sustainable, informative, and innovative monitoring of California's MPA network will be conducted by the Marine Protected Area Monitoring Enterprise.
Coastal Watershed Science & Policy Program, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
ASSESSING PRESENCE AND EXPRESSION OF CYANOBACTERIA TOXIN GENES IN TWO MONTEREY BAY AREA FRESHWATER LAKES
Freshwater cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (CHABs) threaten humans and other organisms through an array of potent cyanotoxins. In particular, the family of hepatotoxic microcystins is one of the most pervasive cyanotoxins. Microcystins have been identified predominantly in freshwater and estuarine systems with some overlap into marine ecosystems. CHABs that lyse and release toxins at freshwater-saline interfaces pose an increased risk to aquatic organisms, including coastal-dwelling marine mammals. While correlated with anthropogenic nutrient enrichment, the environmental factors that promote CHAB formation are extremely varied. While an array of cyanobacteria taxa contain the microcystin biosynthesis mcy gene cluster, they demonstrate varying levels of gene expression and toxin production, release and potency depending on local ecological conditions. In this study I examine the presence, abundance, diversity and toxicity of freshwater cyanobacteria in two central California coastal lakes in association with environmental variables including nutrient and ion concentrations, dissolved oxygen, temperature, chlorophyll a levels and photosynthetic active radiation. I employ microscopy for cyanobacteria identification and quantification, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to target the toxin gene presence and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to estimate cyanotoxin concentrations. This project will characterize the dynamics of cyanobacteria blooms in these coastal lakes, as well as cyanobacteria toxicity-related environmental factors and mechanisms of toxin gene expression and production in the Monterey Bay area and Central Coast region of California.
Starrett, LE (1), BK Wells (2), and CB Grimes (2)
OTOLITH MICROCHEMISTRY OF PELAGIC JUVENILE ROCKFISH AS AN INDICATOR OF UPWELLING EXPOSURE WITHIN THE OPEN COASTAL SYSTEM OF CENTRAL CALIFORNIA (164 KB PDF)
Coastal upwelling is an oceanographic condition known to be an important determinant of recruitment for marine demersal fish. However the magnitude of its importance is unknown because there is no means of distinguishing between individuals who did or did not experience upwelled water. There is a need to develop a tool to identify these individuals, and subsequently sort out the role upwelling exposure plays in larval recruitment, growth and larval condition. Otoliths are the ear stones of fish. These structures have been shown to record water chemistry, and therefore may be a means of making this distinction between individuals who spent time in upwelled water masses, and those that did not. Here we evaluate whether or not otolith microchemistry may be used as an indicator of upwelling exposure. Both water and pelagic juvenile rockfish (Sebastes jordani & Sebastes entomelas) otoliths were collected from water masses with varying degrees of upwelling intensity off the coast of Central California in the summers of 2007 and 2008. A standardized set of transects was used at a spatial resolution designed to capture meso-scale oceanographic features. The different water masses are defined using satellite sea surface temperature imagery along with temperature and salinity profiles. Identifying the chemical signature linked to upwelling exposure would allow for retrospective analysis of adult fish otoliths and give insight into any effects this oceanographic process may have on recruitment, growth and survival beyond recruitment.
Stewart, JS (1), WF Gilly (1), JAT Booth (1), JC Field (2), and KA Baltz (2)
HUMBOLDT SQUID (DOSIDICUS GIGAS) IN THE MONTEREY BAY NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY: ELECTRONIC TAGGING REVEALS BEHAVIOR AND HABITAT USE (1 MB PDF)
Humboldt squid have been resident in the Monterey Bay Sanctuary for the past decade, although their abundance fluctuates annually and interannually. Impacts of this large opportunistic predator on local ecosystems and fisheries involve a variety of factors, including habitat use and migratory behavior. Here we present data from squid tagged with pop-off satellite archival tags in the Monterey Bay and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries following methods developed in the Gulf of California, Mexico. A total of 9 squid were tagged in 2008-2009, and useful data (> 2.5 days) were obtained in 5 cases. Regular diel vertical migrations occur from midwater, daytime depths of 300-550 meters to near-surface, nighttime depths of 10-100 meters. Daytime depths are characterized by temperatures of 6-8 °C and oxygen concentrations in the range of 20-60 umol/kg (determined by direct physical profiling at the time and place of tag deployment). Daytime depths occupied by tagged squid correspond to the upper boundary of the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ), a permanent physical feature of the midwater environment. This diel migration pattern is similar to that observed in the Gulf of California. All squid tagged off California migrated southward, moving 6-35 km/day with one animal covering at least 595 km in 17.5 days and entering Mexican waters. These horizontal movements are consistent with a fall/winter southerly migration to spawn in warmer waters.
Sweers, T, And B Broughton
Watershed Academy, San Lorenzo Valley High School, Felton, CA
TIDEPOOL POPULATIONS: FLUCTUATION OR COLLAPSE? A STUDY OF DAVENPORT LANDING ROCKY INTERTIDAL ZONE (852 KB PDF)
The purpose of our project is to collect data (biodiversity counts) from Davenport Landing rocky intertidal and compare it to data accumulated from previous years' studies; thus, we can observe and investigate population trends. The objective of our project is to confirm a decline in anemone and an increase in turban snail populations and to explore the possible causes of said variations. So far, our data indicates a decrease since 1973 (earliest data collected) in aggregating anemones (Anthopluera elegantissima) and an increase in turban snail (Tegula funebralis) populations. Our research now focuses on the cause of the change in the abundance of these species over the last 37 years. In the field, we follow the LiMPETS rocky intertidal protocols. Beginning in summer 2009, we sampled approximately once a month using 1/4 m2 quadrat in 8-14 random locations at an established LiMPETS monitoring site. We counted a wide range of organisms, then entered all of our data into the LiMPETS website. After entering our data, we created spreadsheets and graphs to note trends in biodiversity and individual organism counts. We would like to thank our mentor Professor John Pearse for his invaluable time and experience in the field and lab, as well as for providing us past sampling data from the LiMPETS monitoring location at Davenport Landing.
Uttal, L, S Nachbar, and K Hunter-Thomson
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Monterey, CA
VOICES OF THE BAY - A VOYAGE OF SCIENCE, COMMUNITY, AND HERITAGE THROUGH LOCAL FISHERIES KNOWLEDGE (684 KB PDF)
'Voices of the Bay' introduces students to Monterey Bay's rich fishing heritage as well as its relevance and value today. Through engaging, hands-on activities, students gain a deeper understanding of the marine ecology, economy, and culture that surrounds them. By using local fisheries and communities as the context for learning, this place-based curriculum helps students develop real-world connections to their own communities while meeting a range of science, math, social science, and communications standards.
The three instructional modules provide an excellent multi-disciplinary compliment to a school's regular curricula and instruction as they align to National, California State, and Ocean Literacy standards. In the Balance in the Bay module, students use critical-thinking skills and apply principles of ecosystem-based management to analyze data, debate and discuss their findings, and make decisions that recognize the complex dynamics associated with maintaining a "balance in the bay." Through role-playing, teamwork, and a little fate, the From Ocean to Table module provides students with an opportunity to get an "insider's" view of what it takes to be an active stakeholder in a commercial fishery. In the Capturing the Voices of the Bay module, students research, plan, and conduct personal interviews with citizens of the community. This provides students the opportunity to deeply explore the historic, economic, environmental, and cultural dimensions of their particular "place" in the world and, perhaps more importantly, how all these dimensions inter-connect through the lives of those who live and work in the region.
Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (IfAME), California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA
FINE-SCALE PATTERNS IN THE BEHAVIOR OF CORAL REEF FISHES ACROSS MULTIPLE FEEDING GUILDS
Identification of the underlying structure, causal relationships, and feedback interactions between fish and habitat attributes of the seafloor is critical for our understanding of the effects of human alteration on coral reef communities and ultimately for our ability to manage those effects, particularly where spatial management measures (such as marine reserves) are under consideration. While telemetric studies conducted at Conch Reef from 2001-2006 have provided insight into the large-scale movement of fishes, they have yet to resolve fine-scale movements of fishes within the reef complex. As such, important questions remain regarding the movements of individual fish at these fine spatial scales. During the November 2008 mission to the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory, the habitat associations and feeding behavior of three coral reef species-Scarus coeruleus (a herbivore), Mycteroperca bonaci (a piscivore), and Lachnolaimus maximus (a benthivore)-were observed via SCUBA along the reef wall at Conch Reef. Divers recorded the habitat type below each fish, fish behavior, and fish position relative to the seafloor at 30-sec intervals over the course of 20 minute observation periods. At the end of an observation period an estimate was made of the percent-time each fish spent over different seafloor habitats and the percent-time spent exhibiting selected behaviors. Results to-date suggest Mycteroperca bonaci spend the majority of time observed station keeping over hard bottom habitats. While Scarus coeruleus Lachnolaimus maximus split the majority of the time observed actively swimming and feeding over hard bottom substrates. Coupled with the long-term telemetry data, this information will ultimately inform our knowledge of fish-habitat interactions at Conch Reef.
Webb, LA (1), CS Baughman (2), EE Frolli (2), and JT Harvey (1)
FLEXIBLE FORAGERS: CHANGES IN THE WINTER DIET OF CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS (ZALOPHUS CALIFORNIANUS) IN MONTEREY BAY DURING DIFFERENT OCEANOGRAPHIC CONDITIONS (520 KB PDF)
Temporal variability in oceanographic conditions has been increasing in the California Current system and resulting changes in prey distribution and abundance have been documented, however predator response is less well understood. California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are an abundant predator in this system and have a wide breadth of potential prey. We examined the winter diet of California sea lions hauled-out at the United States Coast Guard Jetty in Monterey, California from October 2007 to January 2008 during a La Niña event using scatological analysis (n=62). Samples were rinsed through a series of nested sieves and all identifiable prey remains were enumerated to the lowest taxonomic level possible following methods outlined by Weise (2000). Our data were compared with a prior scatology study conducted by Weise (2000) at the same location during an El Niño event from November 1997 to January 1998. Although a similar suite of prey species was consumed during the two winter periods, during the 2007-08 winter when there was increased upwelling and decreased sea surface temperature significantly greater numbers of sardine (Sardinops sagax), northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax) and Pacific jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) were consumed while significantly lesser numbers of elasmobranchs and market squid (Loligo opalescens) were consumed (G test (0.05,20,62): 938.7981). Our results support the Weise and Harvey (2008) hypothesis that California sea lions foraging in central California are "plastic specialists" whose dynamic diet is a result of feeding on seasonally abundant, aggregating prey.
Wrubel, K (1), J Lindholm (1), A DeVogelaere (2) and A Knight (1)
AN EVALUATION OF THREE APPROACHES TO THE ANALYSIS OF SUBSEA VIDEOGRAPHIC DATA
Effective marine policy depends on the timely dissemination of robust research results, informed management agencies, and a knowledgeable, supportive public community. However, resource managers frequently lack important information on many locations, resources, and ecological processes in the areas they manage, even where a great deal of science and monitoring has been conducted. The reality of scientific data processing and analysis often prolongs the time between data collection and dissemination, which in turn inhibits the rate at which scientific results become available to management agencies. 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. Between 2006 and 2008, a towed camera sled was used to collect continuous videographic imagery of sessile marine macro-invertebrates and the substrates with which they were associated. The utility of three related approaches to the collection of data from that videographic imagery-a frame-by-frame analysis, data collected at one-minute sampling intervals, and selection of representative photos and video clips for posting on a website-was conducted. A Rank Preference Index (RPI) was used to compare the similarities of habitat associations of macro-invertebrates at the two spatial scales. Though intended for separate audiences, the collection of data at separate sampling intervals from the same videographic imagery provides the opportunity to compare the multiple approaches for characterizing the scales at which taxa occur in the Sanctuary.
Zeidberg, L (1), JAT Booth (2), and C Miller (3)
THE AREA OF SUITABLE SPAWNING HABITAT FOR THE CALIFORNIA MARKET SQUID, DORYTEUTHIS OPALESCENS (288 KB PDF)
The fishery of the California market squid is known for its variability. One possible explanation for the dynamic nature of the population is that the cumulative area of suitable spawning habitat has oscillated between seasons and years. Squids lay 100-300 eggs in capsules that are inserted into sand with a thin anchoring strand. Wave surge ventilates the eggs, there is no brooding. Laboratory experiments have shown that >95% of squid eggs hatch when reared between 9-13.5oC. ROV observations of squid eggs in 2001-2002 demonstrated that >95% of egg capsules occurred in the sand, between depths of 20-70m, and between temperatures of 10-14oC. We determined the area of suitable spawning habitat for market squid for the period of 1997-2008 based upon the three parameters: 1) substrate-type, 2) depth, and 3) temperature. We utilized existing datasets from CalCOFI CTD casts, CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab, and NOAA bathymetry to see where appropriate substrate, depth, and temperature intersected to create an adaptive site for squid reproduction. Area of suitable spawning habitat was compared to fisheries data. While not predicting all inter-annual variability, suitable spawning habitat defined herein can explain some seasonality and predict El Niño based fishery collapses. These mapping tools could be applied to suitable habitat parameters of other species as well.