Monterey Kelp Forests Restoration Status 2020

Monterey kelp forest regrowth continues in spite of hordes of purple urchins chewing on holdfasts – even with volunteer divers smashing urchins one at a time with pointy hammers and praying for the return of sea stars recovered from wasting disease to devour the urchins. One ironic twist – purple urchins are now losing their spines to their own wasting disease and might make cemeteries of the urchin barrens.

This video by Cariolis Films discusses the research underway at Lovers Point on kelp restoration near Hopkins Marine Station. Please click through to Vimeo for a better viewing and the 2020 follow up information in the text below it there. This was filmed in 2019. [Shared from Johanna Van de Woestijne to Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University]

Report on Rocky Intertidal Monitoring Over 20 Years, 1992-2012

Tides of Change: Past Trends…and Prospects for the Future in Rocky Intertidal Communities is a video of a report from Dr. Richard Ambrose discussing the results of studies at about 154 long-term monitoring sites, from Alaska to Mexico, under the auspices of MARINe, some of which have been studied for as long as 30 years.

Of particular interest here, because of their frequent occurrence in my 2014 survey, are Dr. Ambrose’ charts of the fluctuation of Rockweed, Endocladia and barnacle populations in monitored sites over a 20 year period, and the advance, retreat, then recovery of each of these species.

The talk also touches on the withering foot disease of abalone in the 1980s, and of seastar wasting disease starting around 2013, and speculates on changes coming to the rocky intertidal in future years.

The video is at
The talk was sponsored by California’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

California Coast Intertidal Ecozone

Comprehensive introduction to the California coast intertidal ecozone, presented by Dr. Erica Zavaleta, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Zavaleta’s YouTube channel has a number of videos discussing all the various ecosystems of California including, besides those related to ocean environments, including mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, and deserts.

Intertidal ecozone video (click link)

Related to the intertidal are these videos about kelp and estuaries (in particular Elkhorn Slough near Monterey California).

Kelp (link)
Estuaries (link)

James Watanabe, Stanford lecturer, on the local kelp forest ecosystem around Hopkins Marine Station

James Watanabe, Stanford lecturer, on the local kelp forest ecosystem around Hopkins Marine Station, and sitting in one place for a long time to find out “who these [kelp forest] critters were, how they make a living, where you can find them, and the processes that affect them.”

Click here to link to the article.

Sea stars may be responding to wasting disease with a genetic shift

July 01, 2018. A microevolution “shows how the sea stars rapidly responded to the onslaught of wasting disease with a genetic shift, according to a UC Merced study published last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

This San Luis Obispo The Tribune article has some details:





Behavior of Rockfish Living in Monterey Kelp Forests

Meet an interdisciplinary team of researchers combining forces to study the impact of climate change and other environmental stressors on the behavior of fish living in a California kelp forest. Jody Beers of Hopkins Marine Station, Steve Litvin of MBARI, and Mike Squibb of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford, are combining water quality and animal behavior data to study the interaction of physical and biological components of the kelp forest community, in part by tagging rockfish off the Hopkins shelf, planting monitoring sensors along the shelf bottom, and observing behavior when cold water wells up onto the shelf from the mile-deep Monterey submarine canyon.

Restoring Southern California’s Kelp Forests – 2014 Video

This informative video update has some surprising facts about restoring Southern California’s kelp forests.

Over the past 100 years, the Palos Verdes Peninsula has lost 75 percent of its kelp forests. Kelp can grow up to two feet a day inkelp-forest coastal waters, but recently these marine habitats have been disappearing due to human factors including pollution, runoff, and overfishing. In an effort to restore healthy kelp canopies in Southern California’s oceans, The Bay Foundation has implemented a five-year restoration program to cull diseased, overpopulated sea urchins — dense groupings of them referred to as urchin barrens — that are depleting this once-plentiful habitat. The barrens, where no kelp grows, can have populations of as many as ninety malnourished urchins per square meter instead of the two healthy urchins per square meter in a balanced environment. After the urchins were removed from this barren, it needed only four months for the kelp forest to begin recovery.

Take a look at Restoring Southern California’s Kelp Forests.

2014 California Intertidal Ecology Survey Final Discussion and Conclusions

2014 California Intertidal Ecology Survey
Final Discussion and Conclusions
James landers, January 28, 2015

Survey Links
Statement of Purpose (link)
Final Discussion and Conclusions (link)
Report Links
White Rock      Monterey Bay    Fitzgerald
Bodega Bay      Gerstle Cove      MacKerricher
Field Data Sheets
White Rock      Monterey Bay    Fitzgerald
Bodega Bay      Gerstle Cove      MacKerricher

Other Links
Specimens posted to iNaturalist
and Project Noah (link)

Weeds in the Intertidal Garden (link)
Unidentified Rockweed (link)

Abstract. Observations and data for all six sites surveyed are compared in this final summation. Some findings from individual surveys already posted are repeated here; more findings from other research have been added in order to place our experience in a broader context and contrast our data with that of the long-term monitoring projects of UC Santa Cruz and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Our early consideration of issues such as zonation, alga growth, or species diversity in the California Intertidal zone has matured over the course of our surveys and led to an improved understanding of the value of long-term observation of the dynamic and highly diversified ecological environment of the intertidal zone as a component of a complex ocean system crucial to the health of our planet. Continue reading 2014 California Intertidal Ecology Survey Final Discussion and Conclusions

MacKerricher State Park Survey Report, June 14, 2014

2014 Intertidal Ecology Survey
Laguna Point, MacKerricher SMCA, Fort Bragg CA
Field Survey Report
James Landers, June 14, 2014 (Rev. November 30, 2014)

 Abstract. Laguna Point is on the western perimeter of MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg CA. MacKerricher is marine reserve designated as an State Marine Conservation Area under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MPA) and provides limited protection for intertidal life. Laguna Point is open coast with a western exposure that is frequented by tourists, abalone divers, and shellfish harvesters. The area was settled by Pomo and other hunter/gatherers thousands of years ago and at Laguna Point their descendents continue the old traditions of harvesting from the sea.

At minus tide, the area just south of Laguna Point’s north margin becomes a small inlet (where on higher tides doghole schooners loaded lumber in the 1880s) below a marine terrace composed of Quaternary sedimentary deposits. Abalone are common in the inlet and the Indians take them by hand from under exposed rocks. Much of the intertidal rock surface is encrusted by marine algae including Endocladia, Neorhodomela, Mastocarpus and Petrocelis. As with other sites in this survey, marine herbivores ̶ limpets, littorines, and chitons ̶ seemed low in proportion to the amount of rockweed, turfweed, and other algae that predominate here. Mussel beds exist outside of the inlet where they are exposed to the open ocean. Continue reading MacKerricher State Park Survey Report, June 14, 2014

MacKerricher State Park Field Data Sheet, June 14, 2014

The following link is to the Excel 2007 Workbook for the June 14, 2014, Field Observation Data collected at MacKerricher State Park, Fort Bragg CA. This data sheet supports the MacKerricher State Park Survey Report for the same date (see under Category “Survey Reports”).

MacKerricher State Park Field Data Sheet

The link opens the Excel workbook on your computer, and is about 8MB in size. The workbook has been scanned and passed by ZoneAlarm and AVG  Security.

2014 California Intertidal Ecology Survey