Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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.

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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.

Weeds in the Intertidal Garden

Out of long, long, consideration of the parts he [Darwin] emerged with a sense of the whole. Where we wished for a month on station, and took two days, Darwin stayed three months. Of course, he could see and tabulate. It was the pace that made the difference, and in the writing of Darwin, as in his thinking, there is this slow heave of a sailing ship, and the patience of waiting for a tide.
– Steinbeck speaking of Darwin, in the Sea of Cortez, 1941.

In the California marine intertidal we have prominent rockweeds and turfweeds that arrogate broad swaths of rock surface, preventing other species from settling in the space they occupy, and often becoming the predominant species in an intertidal community. We have wondered how long the intertidal has been overrun by these marine algae, and how settlement could be accomplished by animals when so much space is taken by “weeds.”

At the same time our surveys presented this abundance of plants, we found an apparent lack of biodiversity at sites where one or more of several species ̶ barnacles, mussels, sea stars, shore crabs, and sea urchins ̶ appeared absent from the intertidal community, and whether biodiversity is impacted by this rank population of algae.Missing species by survey site Continue reading Weeds in the Intertidal Garden

Specimens posted to iNaturalist and Project Noah

We have posted for identification four specimens at Project Noah, and one at iNaturalist, and are waiting to see what sort of responses we receive.

At Project Noah, we have posted these four specimens:
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 A white, pink-ringed variation of the usually green aggregating anemone Anthopleura elegantissima from deep under a rock ledge in Gerstle Cove at Salt Point State Park? See Project Noah. Continue reading Specimens posted to iNaturalist and Project Noah