Category Archives: Miscellaneous

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.

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