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.
RC Lab PhD Candidate Kat Beheshti recently published a blog post in the Elkhorn Slough Volunteer Newsletter. Check it out here!
Together with the Lubchenco/Menge Lab of Oregon State University, we just published a BioScience paper on the importance of long-term ecological research for both advancing the field of ecology and informing policy. You can access the paper here, and check out our press release for more information: http://news.ucsc.edu/2017/03/long-term-studies.html
Another RC grad leaving the lab for bigger and better things. Congrats Dr. STD!
Mass mortalities of sea stars from Sea Star Wasting Syndrome have resulted in major reductions of the ochre star Pisaster ochraceus, a keystone predator. Monica investigates what happens to the intertidal community this sea star is not present to eat mussels, its favored prey. https://www.hakaimagazine.com/video/no-sea-stars-mussel-beach
The RC Lab’s famous kelp forest made another appearance! This time at Mar Vista Elementary School. The kelp forest (which we pair with underwater video of actual monitoring transects) gives the students an idea of what marine surveys actually entail. In the lesson we’ve developed over the last several years, students learn the ID of several common species, think about habitat associations, make hypotheses, survey the “kelp forest”, and graph their data. We also let students try on and model our SCUBA gear which ends up being pretty entertaining (and hopefully sparking interest in marine research). If you or anyone you know is an elementary (or middle school) teacher in the area that might be interested in our traveling kelp forest show, email Rachel Zuercher or Monica Moritsch.