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  • New projects to “take snapshot” of North Coast’s MPAs | California Sea Grant
    Jan Freiwald Reef Check California jfreiwald reefcheck org Gregor Hodgson Reef Check Foundation Reef Check is a non profit citizen science conservation organization that teaches and certifies experienced divers to survey species found in rocky reefs and kelp forests along California Its volunteers have been helping with baseline monitoring of MPAs in other parts of the state and have been monitoring rocky reefs at four sites along the North Coast for six years Recently its survey protocols have been modified to better assist the state in cost effectively evaluating MPA performance over time The main goal of this project is expand and grow the existing Reef Check California program along the North Coast to enhance baseline characterizations of rocky reef and kelp forest ecosystems Closely related to this goal is the emphasis on engaging and educating the public about the value of and need for science based marine management For this project volunteers led by Reef Check California scientists will survey multiple sites inside and outside the new MPAs documenting abundances of about 70 rocky reef indicator species Reefs will be surveyed for two years and in the project s third year the data will be analyzed to characterize reef ecosystems in the study region and document any initial changes inside the MPAs Scientists will also combine the new and existing Reef Check survey data with data from the other baseline monitoring projects to produce a more complete assessment of the status of the region s rocky reef and kelp forest ecosystems The lead scientist also hopes to provide recommendations for improving long term monitoring of marine ecosystems in California Work plan Freiwald WorkPlan v2 pdf Baseline Characterization of Nearshore Rocky Reefs and Kelp Forests Sean Craig Humboldt State University sean craig humboldt edu Ryan Jenkinson Humboldt State University Adam Wagschal H T Harvey Associates This project will use data collected by professional research divers to describe and assess ecological conditions within the region s nearshore rocky reefs and kelp forests Key metrics for assessing ecological status include documenting the density of macroinvertebrates macroalgae and benthic fishes the size structure and density of red abalone and red sea urchins the percent cover of sessile and colonial invertebrates and algae and substrate type and reef structure Except for the abalone and urchin focused surveys the design and protocols for sampling and collecting data follow those established by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans for long term MPA monitoring of kelp forests The eight sites that will be surveyed during the project include four MPAs Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area SMCA Double Cone SMCA Ten Mile State Marine Reserve SMR and Pt Cabrillo SMR and four reference sites This project is a collaboration with commercial urchin divers Work plan Craig Rocky Reefs WorkPlan pdf Baseline Characterization of Nearshore Fish Communities Associated with Rocky Reef Habitats Timothy Mulligan Humboldt State University tjm2 humboldt edu Dave Hankin Humboldt State University Joe Tyburczy California Sea Grant Extension UC San Diego Drew Barrett Humboldt State University In this collaborative fisheries research project scientists will partner with charter boat fishing captains and volunteer anglers to characterize the baseline status of nearshore rocky reef fish assemblages in four of the region s MPAs Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area South Cape Mendocino State Marine Reserve SMR Sea Lion Gulch SMR and Ten Mile SMR and reference sites This quantitative baseline data will describe the diversity abundance size structure and movement patterns of rocky reef fishes caught inside and outside of MPAs The project will geographically expand upon an existing 2 year 2010 2011 data set on North Coast rocky reef fishes enabling comparisons of fish communities before and after the MPAs went into effect in 2012 Unlike the earlier volunteer angler fish surveys fish that are caught will be tagged and released at depth to enable studies of fish movement patterns across MPA boundaries Researchers hope that by engaging local fishing communities in the research they may establish a foundation for long term collaborative monitoring and community involvement in marine resource management Data from this project will complement other datasets collected by the other baseline monitoring projects to help evaluate placement monitoring and overall effectiveness of the region s MPAs Work plan Mulligan WorkPlan v2 pdf Baseline Characterization of Seabirds Richard Golightly Humboldt State University Richard Golightly humboldt edu Daniel Barton Humboldt State University Phil Capitolo Institute of Marine Sciences UC Santa Cruz W Breck Tyler Institute of Marine Sciences UC Santa Cruz Craig Strong Crescent Coastal Research Daniel Robinette Point Blue Conservation Science Jaime Jahnke Point Blue Conservation Science Seabirds are the focus of this project Scientists will quantify their numbers and locations along the North Coast as well as their reproductive rates diet and related interannual variance at select colonies to identify how these important marine predators are being affected by the new MPAs human disturbance and ever changing ocean conditions Species of interest include the common murre Brandt s cormorant double crested cormorant pelagic cormorant Western gull and pigeon guillemot The project s four main objectives are to 1 provide a region wide census of seabird breeding populations through aerial surveys of their breeding colonies 2 document trends in seabird breeding population sizes at two sites using existing photographs of birds taken from 1996 2013 3 assess seabird diets and reproductive success at Castle Rock the largest seabird colony in the region and 4 document foraging and roosting of key seabird species as well as incidences of breeding and roosting seabirds being disturbed by human activities The resulting baseline characterization will serve as a foundation for assessing initial and long term responses of seabirds to their environment and the new MPAs The project is a collaboration among academic scientists federal wildlife officials citizen scientists a private research center and an environmental consulting company Work plan Golightly WorkPlan v2 pdf Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Keystone Marine Species and Ecosystems Megan Rocha Smith River Rancheria megan m rocha gmail com Hawk Rosales InterTribal Sinkyone

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/new-projects-to-take-snapshot-of-north-coasts-mpas (2015-06-03)
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  • News | California Sea Grant
    South Coast News Research Study Sheephead diet linked to body size August 14 2013 A new study shows that not all California sheephead consume the sea urchins as previously believed News Research New grant to fill gap in sardine stock assessment August 12 2013 New aerial surveys of sardines off Southern California will address fishermen s concerns that sardine abundance estimates are effectively missing California fish Fellowships Research Researcher uses satellites to monitor wetlands August 08 2013 Imagine farmers growing crops not for food but to sequester carbon dioxide or companies that might pay for habitat restoration to offset their greenhouse gas emissions News Research New study to track San Diego s top trophy fish August 05 2013 Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers have been awarded a grant from Collaborative Fisheries Research West to study California yellowtail Extension New posters highlight local CA seafood July 31 2013 To help educate the public California Sea Grant has created four regional posters that highlight local commercially caught and farmed marine seafood Pages first previous 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 next last Sign Up for News Seen in the Press Shoreline Newsletter Contact the Communications Staff Contact Us University

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news?page=9 (2015-06-03)
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  • California Sea Grant researcher named 2013 AAAS Fellow | California Sea Grant
    More recently he has been working to apply molecular methods and sequencing technologies to better identify fish eggs and larvae in environmental samples The new fellows who were announced by AAAS this week will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin representing science and engineering respectively on February 15 at the 2014 AAAS Annual Meeting in Chicago Below is a summary of Burton s current California Sea Grant supported project with his contact information for those who would like more information about his research or to congratulate him personally Molecular Identification of Fish Eggs and Larvae Enhancing the Value of Icthyoplankton Surveys in Monitoring and Management Feb 2012 Jan 2014 Ronald S Burton UCSD SIO 858 822 5784 rburton ucsd edu The distributions and abundances of fish eggs and larvae off the coast of California are used to help estimate spawning fish biomasses from which harvesting guidelines are in part set It is however often difficult to morphologically visually distinguish certain groups of fish eggs That is fish eggs can be misidentified In work to date the scientist and his students have developed a PCR based fluorescent probe array to identify fish eggs and larvae in archived ichthyoplankton samples collected during the CalCOFI cruises They are currently collecting fish eggs at the Scripps pier to identify the groups of fishes reproducing in the local marine protected area When this is done they will decide whether to develop a tuned probe array or employ alternate approaches which will also be based on DNA barcoding principles The ultimate goal is to be able to monitor fish reproduction more rapidly accurately and cost effectively A better understanding of fish reproductive success as well as more information on the timing and location of spawning would be of great

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/california-sea-grant-researcher-named-2013-aaas-fellow (2015-06-03)
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  • Trash-loving birds take bite out of wild salmon | California Sea Grant
    salmon ecologist at NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center But it may be that the last 200 or 300 meters of a river and estuary are the most dangerous These fish are literally being scooped out right before they enter the ocean Ironically the gulls may truly only be snacking on salmon and feasting on our trash Tagging and tracking studies show the birds make frequent trips to the Santa Cruz landfill This virtually endless supply of easily accessible human waste food may be artificially increasing both gull populations and by extension opportunistic predation on young steelhead and salmon We see thousands of gulls at the landfill said Ann Marie Osterback the California Sea Grant graduate student trainee on the project and the lead author of the 2013 study Mystery meat is a gull staple said Scott Shaffer a bird biologist at San Jose State University and a co investigator on the California Sea Grant project I don t know if I would go out on a limb and say that the dump subsidizes gull populations but that is what some people speculate and if it is true it creates an indirect effect on salmon While salmon populations are struggling numbers of Western gulls have roughly doubled in the last 30 years There are now about 1 000 breeding pairs on Año Nuevo Island located off the coast of San Mateo County not far from the Scott Creek watershed It would be easy to say let s get rid of some gulls but the bigger issue is that there are way too few fish Hayes said In light of their findings biologists tried but failed to build a bird exclusion device over the mouth of Scott Creek They are now talking about gull proof trash lids landfill practices and pick up

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/trash-loving-birds-take-bite-out-of-wild-salmon (2015-06-03)
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  • Engaging ocean-goers in harmful algal bloom monitoring | California Sea Grant
    the pilot offshore biotoxin monitoring project contact Carolynn Culver California Sea Grant Extension Program Marine Science Institute UC Santa Barbara at 805 893 4530 or cculver ucsd edu For information about volunteer opportunities in other areas along the California coast with the CDPH shellfish and phytoplankton monitoring program send an email to Redtide cdph ca gov California Sea Grant is currently funding three research projects that examine the processes that may trigger or explain HAB formation in coastal waters of California Below are summaries of these projects with contact information for the lead investigators Forecasting River Runoff Effects on Domoic Acid Production in Coastal California R CONT 221 Feb 2013 Jan 2014 Clarissa Anderson UCSC 831 459 3290 clrander ucsc edu Raphael Kudela UCSC 831 459 3290 kudela ucsc edu Christopher Edwards UCSC 831 459 3734 cedwards ucsc edu In Monterey Bay harmful blooms of microalgae of the genus Pseudo nitzschia the algae that produce the neurotoxin domoic acid are often associated with spring and early summer upwelling of macro nutrients Though less frequent highly toxic blooms have also been observed after first flush storms in fall or early winter It is believed that these blooms may be triggered by sudden changes in silicon and nitrate concentrations associated with freshwater flows to the coast Can this be proved In this project scientists are using field data collected before and after first flush storms as well as other environmental and monitoring data to parameterize a simple numerical model for predicting the rate of domoic acid production The model assumes that the rate of domoic acid production is proportional to the biomass of Pseudo nitzschia algae multiplied by their growth rate The proportionality constant assumes a primary nutrient limiting process i e silicon limitation or nitrate limitation and is a function of three tunable parameters The main goal of this project is to back solve optimize these three parameters using existing data and to then check the fit using other existing or new data When this is done the scientists will have a zero dimensional model for domoic acid production that they can continue to develop and ultimately couple to 3D circulation models Domoic acid which has caused marine mammal and seabird die offs in Central California can accumulate in seafood causing Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning New research suggests that chronic low level exposure to the toxin may pose a health threat to vertebrates Results from this project will further efforts to understand what causes these harmful algal blooms and to forecast their occurrence Submarine Groundwater Discharge in North Monterey Bay The Fuel Sustaining the Algal Incubator R CONT 218 May 2012 Apr 2014 Adina Paytan UCSC 831 459 1437 apaytan ucsc edu John Ryan Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 831 775 1978 ryjo mbari org Peter Swerzenski USGS 210 554 2420 pswarzen usgs gov Certain kinds of harmful algal blooms in the northeastern portion of Monterey Bay form in late summer and early fall when upwelling is weak and surface waters are

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/engaging-ocean-goers-in-harmful-algal-bloom-monitoring (2015-06-03)
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  • News | California Sea Grant
    about offshore energy planning available July 29 2013 A new resource highlights California relevant sections of a 2012 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management BOEM report Fellowships Research Searching for clues on fish declines in the Delta July 26 2013 Delta Science Fellow Julien Moderan is searching for clues as to why so many pelagic fishes in San Francisco Estuary are declining despite efforts to protect them News CA Sea Grant Welcomes New Communications Specialist July 24 2013 The California Sea Grant team at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography grew in July Caitlin Coomber joined us as the new communications specialist Fellowships Research Katie Fisch accepts position at The Scripps Research Institute July 17 2013 Katie Fisch a 2011 Delta Science Fellowship recipient has accepted a research associate position studying human health at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla Fellowships Research Study Native oysters in SF Bay July 16 2013 Andrew Chang a 2009 Delta Science Fellowship recipient is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Smithsonian Environmental Research Pages first previous 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 next last Sign Up for News Seen in the Press Shoreline Newsletter

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news?page=10 (2015-06-03)
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  • Porpoises and dolphins spotted in San Francisco Bay | California Sea Grant
    In the last few years he and colleagues have amassed the world s most comprehensive photographic catalog for the harbor porpoise About 600 individuals have been identified by their scars and pigmentation patterns Similar photographic cataloging has not been possible in other parts of the world We ve had the luck of having the world s greatest observing platform that nobody knew about Keener said From the pedestrian deck of the Golden Gate Bridge we can watch them go about their business and they don t know we are there The photographic database is making it possible to address critical questions about the porpoise s life history such as whether females give birth yearly as do their counterparts on the East Coast or every other year as has been suggested by others About 41 bottlenose dolphins have also been photographically fingerprinted At an upcoming marine mammals conference in New Zealand next month Isidore Szczepaniak with Golden Gate Cetacean Research and colleagues will report a new longshore movement record of about 1 000 kilometers for one dolphin Smootch was photo identified in Ensenada Mexico in 2000 and in Bodega Bay in 2012 We are seeing a lot of dolphins go back and forth between San Francisco and Monterey bays Szczepaniak said We d like to know how often and their speeds Besides studying the cetaceans many fascinating behaviors scientists also hope to figure out what exactly attracted the top predators to the region The leading theory is food Low rainfall in 2007 09 might have expanded salt water habitats in the bay for schooling fish such as herring Dolphins have also been observed snacking on Chinook salmon in the bay Calling all citizen scientists Golden Gate Cetacean Research is collecting interesting or unusual sighting information on porpoises dolphins and minke whales

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/porpoises-and-dolphins-spotted-in-san-francisco-bay (2015-06-03)
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  • Conserving the San Francisco Bay-Delta | California Sea Grant
    family known as perennial pepper weed Lepidium latifolium Native to Europe and Central Asia the noxious weed has invaded sensitive tidal wetlands of the San Francisco Bay Delta and Suisun March elbowing out native marsh plants including the endangered endemic soft bird s beak The core of the project will be a series of field manipulation experiments in which pepper weed and native plant densities are held constant and varied to evaluate the weed s ecological consequences at various stages of invasion Experiments will seek to quantify the weed s impact on carbon storage marsh plant productivity and food webs at sites with different salinity exposures Findings may provide important insights into cost effective control strategies for the weed and their implications for marsh restoration Research mentor Ted Grosholz UC Davis Community mentor Brenda Grewell USDA Optimizing salt marsh harvest mouse conservation through an investigation of demography habitat use and multi species management R SF 64 09 01 2013 10 31 2015 Katherine Smith doctoral student UC Davis ratsmith ucdavis edu 530 400 7729 The salt marsh harvest mouse Reithrodontomys raviventris is the world s only land mammal found exclusively within coastal marshes Amazingly adapted to coastal living the small mammal can can swim yes swim drink salt water and climb pickleweed to evade high tide This project explores novel approaches to helping the endangered species thrive within San Francisco Bay s small highly fragmented marshes further threatened by sea level rise To do this the fellow is live trapping radio collaring and monitoring the mice at six sites within Suisun Marsh monthly Three of the study sites are managed to enhance duck hunting The other three sites are natural tidal wetlands A main goal of the project is to establish population sizes of the mice at the six study sites and to figure out where mice go when the managed wetlands are flooded to create duck ponds for hunters Her work will document much needed basic biological information on the species such as its home range size longevity feeding habits and reproductive cycles Finding may illuminate ways to rebuild mice populations protect coastal wetlands and enhance duck populations as other research has suggested that larger mice populations can reduce predation on duck eggs and chicks Research mentor Doug Kelt UC Davis Community mentors Steve Culberson and Michael Chotkowski U S Fish and Wildlife Service and Laureen Barthman Thompson California Department of Fish and Wildlife How do shallow water habitats work Using smart drifters to understand how flow and geomorphology interact to establish high quality habitats R SF 65 09 01 2013 08 31 2015 Qingfang Wu post doctoral researcher UC Berkeley qingfangwu berkeley edu 510 387 0078 A UC Berkeley research team has built a fleet of floating robots that can be deployed in estuaries and rivers to track water movements and monitor various aspects of water quality The drifters officially called the Floating Sensor Network are equipped with sensors that measure position GPS water turbidity chlorophyll salinity and

    Original URL path: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/news/conserving-the-san-francisco-bay-delta (2015-06-03)
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