Current Position: Ocean Observatory Group Leader, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Long Marine Lab
100 Shaffer Rd. Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 459 5783
BS University of California, Santa Cruz
PhD University of California, Santa Cruz (2011)
I am interested in the role of highly variable and ephemeral habitats in marine ecosystems. Here in central California, the kelp forests are dominated by giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera . It is one of the fastest growing plants and produces large quantities of biomass annually. Through the summer and fall months, the kelps produce an abundance of detritus consisting of fronds, stipes and holdfasts that accumulate on the seabed within and near the reefs. I have observed through four years on fish surveys that these accumulations harbor high densities of at least eight species of coastal rockfish (genus Sebastes ), which are both an economically and ecologically important group of fishes. I suspect that kelp detritus may serve as an important nursery habitat for juvenile rockfish, however since the resource is extremely variable in time and space, the effect on rockfish populations is likely highly variable as well. Since rockfish are a long-lived species, factors that influence their juvenile survivorship can have long lasting effects in the community. As a result, the effect of dynamics in kelp detritus production on the community can be magnified by its direct influence on strongly interacting species that can persist for many decades.