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Ed Ricketts Memorial Lecture


Gregor M. Cailliet

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories


Below Pacific Tides: The Predictability, Diversity and Importance of Habitats for Marine Fishes

Over the years, many studies have been done on assemblages of fishes in California's diverse marine habitats. In virtually every case, the assemblages have proven to be quite predictable in that similar groups of species co-occur. Indeed, one could argue that simply knowing an assemblage of fish species can allow one to predict the habitat from which they came. In addition, the high diversity of habitats in California probably generates the high species diversity of marine fishes associated with them. This predictability and diversity can be influenced, however, by long-term variations in environmental (climatic, oceanographic) conditions. Thus, the mobile (e.g. water column, sediment, drift algae, etc.) or fixed (e.g. reef, rocky outcrop, etc.) nature of habitats can also have an influence on the fishes that associate with them. Likewise, different life stages of fishes with different life styles can occupy different habitats, thus somewhat clouding the relationship between habitat and fish assemblage. Nevertheless, fish assemblages characteristically have a predictable structure in a given habitat.

The importance of habitats to their marine fish inhabitants is difficult to evaluate, but habitats can be defined as providing space and structure, shelter, food, reproductive habitat or nursery areas for marine fishes. Most of the work on marine fishes and their habitats has been in the shallow, more accessible areas such as the rocky intertidal and subtidal. The majority of the studies done in my laboratory by myself, my colleagues and my students has been in relatively deep water. In this talk, I will review the relationship between fishes and their marine habitats, ranging from shallow to deep.

About Gregor Cailliet

The 1997 recipient of the Ricketts Memorial Lecture Award is Dr. Gregor M. Cailliet. Dr. Cailliet has been trekking down to Pacific tidepools and depths beyond for at least three decades, always generating excitement and interest in those that accompany him. Greg grew up surfing with his father on the beaches of southern California, and brought this appreciation of the natural environment to his life-long studies of marine fishes. He has demonstrated sustained excellence as an outstanding educator, enthusiastic researcher, and concerned adviser to all members of our coastal community. His contributions on diverse topics of marine biology, ecology, and fisheries have made him a leader in ocean science at local, national, and international levels.

Greg Cailliet received his Bachelor and Doctorate degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a professor at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories since 1972, he has been the major advisor of over 75 graduate students and has served on the committees of countless others. Many of Greg's students are now contributing to marine science as educators, federal and state biologists, and resource managers. Greg Cailliet's research interests range from shallow water fish assemblages of Elkhorn Slough to feeding habits, habitats, age and growth of deep-sea fishes in the Monterey Submarine Canyon and of pelagic sharks worldwide. His 75+ scientific papers, many co-authored with his graduate students, represent a lasting contribution to the fields of marine ichthyology, biology and ecology.

Greg was a founding member of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Advisory Committee and the founding chair of the Research Activity Panel for the Monterey Bay National marine Sanctuary. He is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and has been the President of the American Elasmobranch Society and the Western Society of Naturalists.

History of Ricketts Memorial Award and Past Recipients

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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