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Sanctuary Currents 1996
Building Community Connections in Science, Education and Conservation

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Poster Abstracts & Awards

Session Abstracts


Saturday, March 9, 1996


Presentation Abstracts

Keynote Speaker

Beyond Monterey Bay and Our Splendid Isolation

Michael L. Weber
Co-author of The Wealth of Oceans

Conservation and study of the oceans remain marginal concerns. In the agenda of the national conservation community, oceans only recently have gained a mention. Within Federal and State legislatures, oceans have been relegated to some of the least influential committees. The same is true of state and Federal executive agencies. Maps of the biogeographic regions of the Earth prepared by eminent biologists relegate the oceans to a single realm if they note them at all. Most citizens see no link between themselves and the oceans.

We who care a lot about the oceans have reinforced this marginality by insisting on differences rather than similarities and by maintaining our isolation from each other and from the concerns of broader society. And for the most part, marine sanctuaries remain isolated from each other and from other, relevant government, scientific, educational and conservation programs on land and sea. Perhaps we think that we will gain strength and definition by insisting on our differences. But if this behavior is meant as a strategy, it has been limiting, even debilitating.

I will describe what I have gained by exploring the oceans' links with economics, popular media, advanced technology, demographics, sustainable development, government, agriculture, urban development, and other perspectives. Exploiting these linkages can generate the new momentum that the challenges ahead will demand.

Patterns, Processes and People: A Characterization of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Coupling Marine and Terrestrial Watershed Processes

Robert R. Curry
CSUMB Watershed Institute and UC Santa Cruz

The terrestrially-derived nutrient flux into Monterey Bay may be on the same order of magnitude as the better-known oceanic upwelling. Suspended sediment-borne nutrient pathways are also equally effective means to load metals and agricultural chemicals as marine pollutants. Only through better understanding of the throughput of terrestrial watersheds that discharge to Monterey Bay, can we assess the import of estuarine systems and coastal wetlands as buffers for protection of marine water quality.

Anthropogenic erosion from agricultural sources provides an average of about 172,000 tons per year of suspended sediment that enters Elkhorn Slough alone (from less than 500 sqkm). That estuary captures at best only a few percent of the runoff into Monterey Bay under current very abnormal geologic conditions. Primary runoff through the Salinas River system (about 12,000 sqkm drainage area) and the Pajaro system (about 3500 sqkm) is not buffered effectively by a large overfit estuary. Thus, sediments and sediment-borne constituents are largely carried directly into the marine environment. More than 4000 acres of Monterey Bay region strawberry production on sloping lands (5% to 30%) experience 8 to 145 tons per acre per year of soil loss, with long-term sediment delivery ratios to the marine environment of on the order of 50 percent for solids and 60-70 percent for dissolved loads.

Watershed systems evolve to efficiently trap and retain nutrients in the terrestrial and estuarine environment. This coevolutionary biogeomorphic strategy is defeated when humans attempt to use lands in such as fashion that floodwater storage capacity of flood plains is diminished. Riparian and wetland plant communities have evolved to tolerate and thrive in environments where sediments and their nutrient loads are trapped. In one study of a simple 300-meter length of artificial drainage ditch that was allowed to sustain a mature riparian closed-canopy forest strip, stormwater flows lost 70 percent of the petrochemical and heavy metal components of runoff, and 40 percent of the dissolved nutrient cation load in winter runoff conditions here in Monterey Bay. Thus, protection of marine water quality mandates thorough use of natural riparian systems and flood storage, coupled with use of artificial vegetated buffer strips and deliberately planted drainage ditches to capture non-point-source pollutants.

Rockfish Recruitment and the Ocean Environment

Stephen Ralston
Southwest Fisheries Science Center,
National Marine Fisheries Service, Tiburon, California

Rockfishes (Sebastes spp.) are an important resource along the United States west coast, where commercial landings have averaged in excess of 38,000 mt/yr over the last decade. The productivity of rockfish stocks largely depends on the occurrence and relative frequency of strong year-classes, i.e., years in which the survival of young-of-the-year is markedly better than normal. Rockfishes often do not become vulnerable to commercial fishing until they are quite old (> 5 yr), even though year- class strength is fixed during the first year of life. To forecast future recruitments to the fishery and improve stock-assessments, staff scientists at the Tiburon Laboratory have fielded an annual midwater trawl survey of pelagic juvenile rockfishes along the central California coast from 1983 to the present.

A variety of oceanographic data are collected during the midwater trawl surveys, which have been used to study the association of pelagic juvenile rockfishes with hydrographic features, including upwelling fronts. However, due to the relatively broad spatial scale of the survey and the need to repeatedly occupy a series of fixed sample sites, mesoscale dynamics have not been adequately resolved. Nonetheless, increased abundances of pelagic juvenile rockfish often seem to occur on the offshore side of upwelling fronts.

The strength of the survey is in studying interannual patterns in pelagic juvenile abundance. Results show strong interspecific synchrony in year-class strength of 10 rockfish species, with fluctuations in abundance from 1983-1995 ranging over three orders of magnitude. For all species, reproductive success during El Niño years is severely compromised. Underlying the tendency for all species to covary, the data suggest that the pelagic juveniles of northerly distributed species (e.g., canary, yellowtail, and widow rockfish) are relatively more abundant during years of enhanced equatorward transport; the opposite is true of southerly distributed species like chilipepper, shortbelly, and stripetail rockfish.

Biodiversity In The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Donald C. Potts
Institute of Marine Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Central California has more marine species than any other temperate coast on earth. Spanning much of the 500 km transition zone between the cold Oregonian and warm Californian biogeographical provinces, the MBNMS contains many species from both provinces, has many species restricted to the transition zone, and is the temporary home for numerous migratory, invasive or ephemeral species. This species richness is partly an evolutionary consequence of the region's complex and prolonged history of geological, tectonic and climatic change, and partly an ecological consequence of having many and varied habitats, from coastal marshes to deep-sea canyons and abyssal plains, all within a few kilometers of one another.

Despite being one of the most intensively studied coastlines in the world, most species remain unknown and undescribed, and even common ones are routinely unrecognized or misidentified. As one example, the common intertidal mussel Mytilus edulis is really three species, not one of which is Mytilus edulis. Any differences among these species in their uptake of pollutants has serious implications for the comparability and reliability of data from Mussel Watch, a widespread environmental monitoring program. Similarly, local populations of the "cosmopolitan" jellyfish Aurelia aurita, a standard example in most general biology and invertebrate textbooks, is actually two species: one was recently introduced from Japan, and neither seems to be the A. aurita first described in Europe. Such basic flaws in knowledge of biodiversity threaten the integrity and effectiveness of all harvesting, management, monitoring and regulatory programs (including the Endangered Species Act) that rely on consistent species identification. They also raise serious scientific questions about the reliablity of both current and previous biotic records for ecological, biogeographic, phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Several Monterey Bay and other Californian institutions recently established an International Marine Biodiversity Initiative (IMBI) to address these biodiversity issues, locally and globally.

Site Characterization: Its Role in Managing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Andrew DeVogelaere

The Site Characterization of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) summarizes the existing knowledge of a wide range of habitats, from the coastline to the deep sea. Moreover, it highlights major gaps in information that need additional study and the potential for human impact on the MBNMS. In this symposium, key issues such as the importance of considering natural variability through time, biological diversity, and the links between the MBNMS and adjacent habitats will be discussed. The purpose of my presentation is to synthesize the key components of the Site Characterization, and to put the document in perspective relative to the MBNMS Research Plan and the overall MBNMS program.

The MBNMS Research Plan, updated in conjunction with preparation of the Site Characterization, gives a framework to provide scientific basis for resource protection and management. It was written by representatives from marine research institutions throughout the Sanctuary (the Research Activity Panel of the MBNMS), in cooperation with resource managers, many other scientists, and staff from the Sanctuaries Program. The foundation of the Research Plan is the Site Characterization. Based, in large part, on this compilation of existing information, research and monitoring programs will be developed to address management concerns. When changes are detected through monitoring activities, research projects will be initiated to determine the causes of changes, and models will be developed to predict future change. Management strategies will be based on the results of monitoring, experiments and models, and, from continued monitoring, the effectiveness of management strategies will be evaluated.

The three year old MBNMS is young relative to the time it takes to complete a research project and develop resource management plans or legislation. Existing knowledge has been summarized, often by the Research Activity Panel, for MBNMS staff and the Sanctuary Advisory Council (a decision making body) on topics ranging from appropriate monitoring plans for desalinization plants to the potential impacts of attracting sharks for recreational purposes. Research has also been conducted on management issues including erosion of Elkhorn Slough and critical habitats for marine mammals. However, the MBNMS Site Characterization will increase the availability of information and provide a more comprehensive approach to research. The Site Characterization is a tool for resource management, research, education, and conservation, developed in large part by volunteer authors from the Monterey Bay region. Let us take advantage of their hard work to manage wisely the gift that is our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Special Computer Demonstration: Networking Ocean Science Research and Education in Monterey Bay, California

Don Brutzman
Code UW/Br, Naval Postgraduate School

The Monterey BayNet regional network is connecting students, educators, researchers, institutions and individuals around a common theme of environmental and ocean science. A variety of exciting volunteer efforts are building networked information links that can effectively and compatibly operate at low and high speeds. Connectivity, content, access and applications are the four key areas of action. Throughout this large project we have learned that people issues are just as important as technical issues. Our efforts have develop a regional model which effectively supports education at all levels together with the conduct of active scientific research. Come see for yourself how the pieces fit together.

Conservation Workshop


Challenges and Opportunities in Ocean Conservation: Policies, Politics, and Citizen Action

So, what was that about the 1990's being the "Decade of the Oceans"? How has the protection of marine wildlife and coastal and marine habitats been affected by the actions taken in Congress and by state and local governments? How can I speak out more effectively on these issues?

A panel composed of governmental and non-governmental leaders will help clarify the status of the major programs and legislation which most affect our oceans and specifically the central California coast and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The tools and information to be a better citizen educator and activist for the oceans will also be provided. Among the invited panelists are Mike Weber, co- author of The Wealth of Oceans; Donna Blitzer, District Director for Congressman Sam Farr; Rachel Dinno, Field Representative to Congresswoman Anna Eshoo; Gary Patton, General Counsel for the California Planning and Conservation League; and David Dickson, Director of Constituency Development for the Center for Marine Conservation. A key goal of the workshop is to provide a solid primer on regional, state, and national issues and further inspire public involvement in the stewardship of our marine heritage.

This workshop is sponsored by the Conservation Working Group, one of three working groups of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council. Organizations represented on the Working Group include the Center for Marine Conservation, Save Our Shores, American Cetacean Society, Friends of the Sea Otter, the Surfrider Foundation, the Coastal Watershed Council, Sierra Club and the League of Women Voters.

Education Workshops

Education workshops will provide educators the opportunity to learn how to teach a K-12 audience about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and how to protect the Sanctuary for the future. In each workshop, participants will try hands- on activities, and take home teaching materials that can be used in the classroom.

Hands-on Sanctuary Activities from MARE (K-8)

Roberta Dean
MARE, Lawrence Hall of Science, U.C. Berkeley

This workshop will focus on strategies for teaching a K-8 audience about some of the numerous marine habitats located within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. From wetlands to kelp forests, a slide overview and hands-on activities will highlight ways that you can bring these remarkable places into your classroom curricula.

MARE - Marine Activities Resources & Education: Designed for use in ethnically and linguistically diverse classrooms, MARE is a schoolwide, interdisciplinary ocean studies program which uses marine habitats to bring to life the themes of science. The MARE curriculum and inservice provides access to challenging science content for all students, through hands-on instruction and cooperative learning techniques. MARE helps schools to implement a year long science curriculum which is articulated across subjects and grade levels and highlighted at each school by an intensive Ocean or Sanctuary Week celebration.

Marine Science Resources on the World Wide Web (K-12)

Marti Atkinson
UC Santa Cruz

Jory Post
Happy Valley School, Santa Cruz County Office of Education

This workshop will take you on a tour of the World Wide Web, focusing on Web Sites dealing with marine science around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. We will then branch out and visit additional sites from around the world that include resources and information to assist in the study and development of marine sciences, including GREEN and GLOBE.

Bringing the Ocean into your Classroom: FOR SEA (K-8)

Linda Hagelin
West Valley College

Participants will try out several classroom activities from this comprehensive marine science curriculum. Take home a sampler packet of lessons! FOR SEA is activity oriented, multi-disciplinary and recognized by the NSTA Search for Excellence in Science Education. Teaching about our oceans is simple and exciting using materials readily available at most grocery stores.

San Lorenzo Valley High School River Project (8-12)

Jane Orbuch, Shauna Reisiwitz and students
San Lorenzo Valley High School

Kip Evans

During the past four years, San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District in the San Lorenzo River Watershed of Monterey Bay has been developing a district-wide watershed monitoring and restoration program. Our high school students, who take college preparatory biology, learn about watershed ecology through our local river. They learn the significance of nine water quality tests including pH, phosphate, nitrate, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, fecal coliform, temperature, total dissolved solids and total suspended solids, and analyze our river's water quality seasonally. In this workshop, high school students will guide you through the use of these test kits and discuss the importance of each water quality factor to the overall health of the watershed and bay. In addition, Kip Evans, the Sanctuary's water quality education coordinator, will introduce the role of the Marine Sanctuary's Water Quality Protection Program and discuss how our watershed affects local marine willdlife and the Sanctuary.

Sanctuary Science Curriculum (K-12)

Dorris Welch and Mary Engle
UCSC Long Marine Lab

Liz Love

This workshop will introduce the new Sanctuary Science K-12 Curriculum, developed by Long Marine Lab to provide teachers and students with interactive lessons to explore sanctuary concepts in the classroom. The session will cover an overview of the curriculum and demonstrations of lessons from each of the four grade levels. Activities include: "what is a marine sanctuary?", marine conservation lessons, marine mammal activities, and exploring marine careers. Copies of the curriculum will be available for teachers to take back to the classroom. Presenters: Dorris Welch, education director, LML; Mary Engle, curriculum writer, LML; Liz Love, education coordinator, MBNMS

Research Symposium: Data Visualization

Visualizing Ocean Circulation

Michael P. McCann
Naval Postgraduate School, Scientific Visualization Laboratory Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

Over the past 15 years satellites and supercomputers have revolutionized our understanding of ocean circulation. These tools produce hundreds of thousands of gigabytes of data for which the only feasible way to comprehend is to use visualization techniques. Animations from observing satellites and numerical ocean circulation models will be used to illustrate some fundamentals of ocean circulation and to demonstrate some commonly used techniques for display and distribution of such data. Much of the results are available on the World Wide Web. Here is a sampling of URLs for images, MPEG, and HDF animations for both global and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary regions: (Ocean models) (MBNMS region)

A Fly-through Model for Visualizing Monterey Bay Spatial Data

Norman M., Maher, Lynn E. Johnson-Conrad, and James E. Hackbush,
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

Visualization of spatial relationships between site specific data collected by MBARI's ROV Ventana and regional topographic, bathymetric, and geologic features is enhanced by incorporating data into a computer generated interactive "fly-through" model. We use high resolution SeaBeam data combined with digital elevation models to create a bathymetric and topographic surface model. Land surfaces are draped with LandSat satellite imagery and portions of the submarine topography are draped with 30 kHz MSSS-1 sidescan sonar imagery. The surface model is populated with ROV tracklines, sample sites, in situ instrument locations and geologic features including fault zones, mud extrusions, cold seeps, and submarine landslides. Some of the dominant marine organisms are represented in their appropriate depth range or benthic habitat. A degree of realism is attained by the use of a simulated sea surface and marine snow texture mapping in the water column. This computationally intensive model uses hardware optimized Performer software running on a Silicon Graphics Inc. Indigo 2 Impact workstation. Viewing the model with a head mounted display developed by Fakespace Inc. increases the realism and ease of navigation. This type of "virtual world" simulation allows the user to intuitively explore large multiparameter datasets.

Realtime Environmental Information Network Analysis System

Alex Pang
UC Santa Cruz

Wendell Nuss
Naval Postrgraduate School

This presentation will describe the functionality and the availability of the REINAS (Realtime Environmental Information Network Analysis System) visualization system. There are two versions of the visualization system: {\em spray} which supports monitoring of instrument readings, generating standard forecast products, visualizing retrospective data, and collaboration among geographically distributed users; and {\em pet slug} is the focus of our current development efforts and promises to provide visualization products through a tool-based approach. Online information on the REINAS visualization efforts are available through

REINAS is a continuing engineering research and development system with the goal of designing, developing and testing an operational prototype system for data acquisition, data management, and visualization. As such, it includes a growing web of networked remote and in-situ instruments, a federated geographical database, and an extensible visualization interface. REINAS focuses on the needs of both oceanographers and meteorologists who monitor realtime data or analyze retrospective data that has been collected in the Monterey Bay area. Among the collaborators on this project are researchers from the UCSC Computer Engineering and Computer Information Sciences Departments and environmental scientists from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Deep Gluttony: Foraging Ecology of Large Whales in Mexico and Monterey Bay

Donald A. Croll, Bernie R. Tershy, David Demer, Roger Hewitt, Dan Costa, Jorge Urban, and Diane Gendron
University of California Santa Cruz

The migratory and short term movements of baleen whales are likely determined by the requirements of finding enough food and satisfying the demands of reproduction. Habitat variability in the whales' marine environment leads to patchiness of their prey, while temporal habitat variability leads to changes in prey distribution and abundance, and short term changes in prey behavior. These in turn influence the distribution, abundance, behavior, and foraging success of marine mammals. Consequently, the distribution of baleen whales as well as many pinnipeds, toothed whales, and seabirds have been shown to be broadly correlated with oceanographic phenomena such as fronts, upwelling plumes, langmuir cells, and large scale patterns in productivity. Fewer studies have examined the correlation between the foraging behavior of diving predators and the distribution of their prey. Studies of Antarctic fur seals have shown that diving and haulout behavior are correlated to daily changes in the distribution pattern krill, their primary prey. However, no studies have simultaneously measured the diving behavior of large pelagic predators such as cetaceans and the distribution, abundance, and density of their prey.

We are addressing this question in a study of the foraging behavior of baleen whales in relation to the krill on which they feed. The blue whale population found off the coast of California and Mexico shows a movement pattern which may be related to seasonal changes in the distribution and abundance of euphausiids, their primary prey. Generally, they move between the Gulf of California in the spring/summer to areas off the Central/Southern California coast in summer/fall, heading south in the fall/winter to feed off the Pacific side of Baja California. Furthermore, while in any given region (e.g. Central/Southern California), individual whales often move considerable distances, presumably searching for suitable prey patches. We are examining the biological and physical characteristics that determine prey patches for the largest of all whales, and the behavior of the whales in relation to a suitable patch once it has been located. To do this we are combining the use of oceanographic sampling, hydroacoustic prey assessment technology, cetacean surveys, and recoverable electronic recorders. Preliminary observations indicate that: 1) the primary prey of whales in these region was euphausiids; 2) whales were concentrated over distinct patches of schooling euphausiids distributed between 100 and 150m in depth; 3) prey patches are often associated with distinct bottom features (e.g. a canyon edge) and are morphologically long and narrow, but vertically restricted; 4) whales dove consistently and directly to a depth of 100-150m to feed on these concentrations of euphausiids; and 5) it may be possible to determine each underwater foraging lunge from detailed time-depth recorder records.