The Ecology of Kelp Forest Rockfishes: A talk given to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

On August 28, 2017, three PhD students from the RC Lab (Mark Morales, Roy Qi and Rachel Zuercher) visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium to teach staff about the ecology of kelp forest rockfishes. The presentation focused on a more holistic perspective of rockfishes rather than a fact dump. Three themes were presented. Mark’s talk focused on the ecology of the early life history stages using Blue/Deacon Rockfish (BDR) as a case study. This section discussed general biology of BDR, larval/juvenile dispersal via ocean currents and movement behavior, maternal effects, and pelagic juveniles as forage for larger marine predators. Roy covered community ecology, highlighting trophic interactions and competition as a mechanism of coexistence of rockfishes within kelp forests. Rachel wrapped things up by putting the previous two sections in the context of the human dimension. Specifically, Rachel discussed ecosystem connectivity and the application of MPA networks, climate stressors (ocean acidification, upwelling intensification, and hypoxia), the fisheries sectors (commercial fisheries and recreational fisheries) and novel management applications. Overall, the audience was very receptive to this material and the knowledge gained will be used in narratives during kelp forest feeding enrichment shows.