California Sea Grant announces newly funded research prioritizing aquaculture and graduate research

California Sea Grant is excited to announce 14 new research projects. Over $1.5 million in federal funding will support California researchers and graduate students from 2022 to 2024. Combined, the aquaculture and graduate research projects complement the program’s current research portfolio and will yield measurable impacts to the local economy, community, and environment.  

The two funded aquaculture research projects seek to answer questions about the impacts of climate change on cultured abalone and seaweeds in California. Climate change impacts on abalone through acidification and warming waters will  affect their susceptibility to disease, all while the global demand for sustainable farmed seafood continues to rise. Results will inform stakeholders, including resource managers, policy makers, and industry leaders, on sustainable abalone and seaweed aquaculture best management practices in the face of a changing coastal ocean. Funded researchers are required to work with at least one aquaculture practitioner whose work requires the application of scientific information, data, and findings.

California Sea Grant prioritizes supporting the next generation of early career scientists focusing on applied research. Funding 12 graduate research fellowships expands the number and diversity of researchers who can launch their scientific careers with Sea Grant support. The funded graduate research projects will help develop practical scientific results that will inform future management. 

The graduate research fellowship projects cover many topics under the California Sea Grant priority themes of resilient coastal communities and economies, sustainable fisheries, and healthy coastal ecosystems. The graduate researchers are taking novel approaches to answer diverse and important questions for California, from the effects of wildfires on endangered salmon, to applying indigenous knowledge to clam restoration, and to sea level rise effects on critical coastal wastewater and transit infrastructure in socioeconomically disadvantaged San Francisco Bay regions.

Core Research - Aquaculture 

Improving Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture system design for the co-culture of seaweeds and abalone to mitigate the effects of climate change
Project Number: R/AQ-160
PI: Michael Graham 
CoPI: Scott Hamilton

Developing tools for monitoring the impact of climate change on captive abalone reproduction and digestion
Project Number: R/AQ-161
PI: Donovan German

Graduate Research Fellows

A release study assessing the survival of juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynhcus tshawytscha) in the Upper Klamath River Basin to inform reintroduction
Project Number: ​​R/HCE-21F
PI: Rachelle Tallman, University of California, Davis
CoPI: Andrew Rypel, University of California, Davis

Applying Indigenous knowledge and genetic data to evaluate clam garden restoration potential in northern California
Project Number: R/HCE-22F
PI: Hannah Kempf Hensel, University of California, Davis
CoPI: David Gold, University of California, Davis

Rebuilding an icon: Developing novel approaches for improving management and fostering community engagement to recover Pismo clams (Tivela stultorum) in California
Project Number: R/HCE-23F
PI: Marissa Bills, California Polytechnic state University, San Luis Obispo
CoPI: Ben Ruttenberg, California Polytechnic state University, San Luis Obispo

Friend or Foe? Effects of eelgrass density on filter feeder biomass and condition index in a multi-habitat living shoreline
Project Number: R/HCE-24F
PI: Brandon Quintana, Cal State University, Fullerton
CoPI: Danielle Zacherl, Cal State University, Fullerton

Development and application of new amino acid isotope proxies to reconstruct California phytoplankton community composition change with shifting climate
Project Number: R/HCE-25F
PI: Genevieve Pugsley, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoPI: Matthew McCarthy, University of California, Santa Cruz

Lamprey conservation genomics
Project Number: R/HCE-26F
PI: Grace Auringer, University of California, Davis
CoPI: Amanda Finger, University of California, Davis

Anthropogenic impacts on leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) ecology with novel applications of stable isotope analysis
Project Number: R/HCE-27F
PI: Jonathon Kuntz, University of California, Merced
CoPI: Sora Kim, University of California, Merced

Do wildfires place imperiled salmonid populations at risk of metabolic meltdown?
Project Number: R/HCE-28F
PI: Katie Kobayashi, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoPI: Eric Palkovacs, University of California, Santa Cruz

The future of ocean acidification and hypoxia in the central California Current: biophysical drivers and implications for living marine resources
Project Number: R/HCE-29F
PI: Julia Cheresh, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoPI: Jerome Fiechter, University of California, Santa Cruz

Impacts of increasing climate variability on coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) at the southern end of their range
Project Number: R/HCE-30F
PI: Rachael Ryan, University of California, Berkeley 
CoPI: Stephanie Carlson, University of California, Berkeley 

Quantifying sea level rise effects on critical coastal wastewater and transit infrastructure in two low-income, residential developments at the San Francisco Bay, California shoreline using hydrogeology and geochemistry measurements
Project Number: R/SFA-13F
PI: James Jacobs, University of California, Santa Cruz
CoPI: Adina Paytan, University of California, Santa Cruz

The future of a vulnerable fishery: Can red urchins adapt to marine heatwaves?
Project Number: R/RCCE-06F
PI: Erin de Leon Sanchez, University of California, Santa Barbara
CoPI: Gretchen Hofmann, University of California, Santa Barbara

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Headquartered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, California Sea Grant is one of 34 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.