Sunday, November 21, 2021
1:30 - 2:30 PM PST
Environment vs. Ecology:
Decoding the Decline of a Kelp Forest Ecosystem in Northern California
Meredith McPherson, Ph.D.
Department of Ocean Sciences, UC Santa Cruz
Bull kelp forests experienced unprecedented losses along 220 miles of coastline in Northern California beginning in 2014 after the onset of a large marine heatwave and the local extinction of sunflower sea stars (sea urchins primary predator). These losses have had devastating consequences to the region’s communities, economies, and fisheries. Similar to the nature versus nurture debate in psychology, it can be equally challenging to tease apart environmental and ecological drivers (also known as "top down versus bottom up”) in ecosystem dynamics.
Using a suite of diver and satellite-derived data, join Meredith as she describes historical patterns of kelp canopy coverage in Northern California, decodes how and why this event occurred, and provides perspective on the future of these iconic marine ecosystems.
Science Sunday is for everyone interested in the world around them. Join us on the third Sunday of every month (except December) for a public lecture from a marine scientist, who presents current research and topics in an entertaining and easy-to-understand format, with up-to-date photos, video, and discussion.
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