Saturday, April 9, 2011
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
James W. Rote Distinguished Professor of Marine Science and Policy,
Director - Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, CSU Monterey Bay
Member, Sanctuary Research Activity Panel
Dr. Chris Harrold (Moderator),
Director of Conservation Research, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Chair, Sanctuary Advisory Council & Research Activity Panel
Dr. Salvador Jorgensen
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Dr. James G. Bellingham
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Monterey Bay is emerging as a focal point for the development of new methods and technologies for studying the biological ocean. In part this follows from the concentration of ocean science institutions in the area. However, the diverse marine ecosystems and dynamic nature of Monterey Bay, combined with a growing body of historical data, are drawing investigators to local waters from around the globe. Marine organisms, particularly micro-organisms, play critical roles in diverse processes important to humans, including exchange of carbon dioxide with the atmosphere, harmful algal blooms, and the nourishment of commercially important fisheries. Yet we struggle with even the most fundamental questions concerning their reproduction, life, and death. How do marine organisms respond to changes in their physical and chemical environment? What strategies do they employ to maximize their chances of survival? What factors trigger population explosions of marine phytoplankton, and what causes those populations to crash in a matter of days or weeks? Answering these questions requires developing new approaches for studying marine organisms and ecosystems.
In the coming decades, Monterey Bay will be the site of extensive at sea experimentation to better understand and (ideally) predict marine ecosystem responses to changes in climate. Although in their infancy, these experiments are already "cyber-intensive," and combine fleets of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) with onboard intelligence, sophisticated biological and chemical sensors, oceanographic models, and remote sensing. Minimizing impact on the environment is an important driver for these efforts, with investigators pursuing approaches that reduce use of disposable batteries and minimize seafloor impacts. These systems are linked via advanced communication and data infrastructure that includes satellite, fiber optic, and acoustic channels, allowing data to be assimilated into predictive models and the vehicles to be commanded from shore. Scientists participating in the experiments are distributed across the globe and interact with each other, with deployed hardware, and with data, via experiment portals. While these efforts will lead to a better understanding of the dynamics of marine ecosystems in Monterey Bay, the influence will extend much further, as advances realized of the coast of California are replicated and applied around the world.
Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University
Humboldt squid have been seen in Monterey Bay nearly every year since 1997, and because they prey on many local fishes and squids, they have the potential to affect local ecosystems and fisheries. Fishermen and researchers catch these five-foot predators and scientific submersibles record their behavior, but we do not have a good understanding of their movement. Questions remain as to where they go, how far they swim, how they interact with the environment, and with which habitats they are associated.
We have successfully tagged several Humboldt squid with pop-up satellite tags off the California coast. We are investigating their movement in the California Current System, both vertically in the water column and geographically along the coast using data from the tags. These results are compared with in situ temperature and oxygen measurements at depth and with sea surface temperatures gathered by remote sensing in order to model their habitat utilization. This will provide a better picture of how these new ecosystem players are interacting with their environment, an important component of assessing ecosystem interactions.
Dr. Andrew DeVogelaere
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
California Ocean Science Trust