From condors to oysters, California Sea Grant funds new coastal research

California Sea Grant has selected 12 projects to receive 2018-2020 research funding. The projects will collectively receive $2.87 million in federal funding, designated by Congress through the National Sea Grant College Program.

In March, Congress voted to continue funding for Sea Grant, which consists of 33 university-based programs in coastal and Great Lakes states that together provide an over 800% return on the federal investment.

The new projects will address important issues for the state of California, informing sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, environmental protection, and resilience to climate change.

“Sea Grant-funded research is directly applicable to challenges we are facing as a state and a nation. These research projects will help identify solutions to help protect our coastal environment and grow our economy,” says California Sea Grant Director Jim Eckman.

This year's funded researchers include Eunha Hoh, a researcher at San Diego State University who will lead an investigation into how California condors may be exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals through their consumption of marine mammal carcasses. Ted Grosholz at UC Davis will conduct new research to aid oyster restoration efforts, which have been plagued by invasive snails called whelks. Other projects will look into important issues affecting California fisheries, including species abundance as well as toxins that can accumulate in seafood and make people sick.

Successful projects must align with California Sea Grant’s strategic focus areas and rank highly in a two-step review process. An external review panel evaluates scientific merit of the projects, and California’s Resources Agency Sea Grant Advisory Panel (RASGAP) ranks projects relevance to current state management issues.


New research projects

The projects below are expected to run between spring 2018 and spring 2020.

Assessing marine endocrine disrupting chemicals in the critically endangered California condor: Implications for reintroduction to coastal environments
Eunha Hoh, San Diego State University
Nathan Dodder, San Diego State University
Christopher Tubbs, San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research
Ignacio Vilchis, San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research

Assessment of state of coastal habitat in the California current large marine ecosystem using MARINe datasets: integration of historic photo-database
Peter Raimondi, University of California, Santa Cruz

Using native food webs to reduce impacts of non-native predators and increase success of native Olympia oyster restoration
Edwin Grosholz, University of California, Davis
Chela Zabin, Smithsonian Institution

Minimizing disturbance impacts by California vessel mooring systems on living rhodolith benthos in Catalina MPA's: an experimental assessment
Diana Steller, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Matthew Edwards, San Diego State University

A novel approach to identify sources, transfer and impact of domoic acid in marine food webs
Rocio Ruiz-Cooley, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Raphael Kudela, University of California Santa Cruz

Larval connectivity among marine protected areas using robot larvae to simulate depth regulation behaviors of many species
Steven Morgan, University of California Davis
John Largier, University of California Davis

Understanding the past and predicting the future in a California estuary: The role of sediment dynamics on eelgrass resilience in Morro Bay
Ryan Walter, California Polytechnic State University
Jennifer O’Leary, California Polytechnic State University/California Sea Grant

Characterizing shallow groundwater nutrient sources in central coast sloughs
Kimberly Null, Moss Landing Marine Labs
Ross Clark, Moss Landing Marine Labs

Optimizing temperature and disease management for captive abalone reproduction in restoration and commercial aquaculture programs
Kristin Aquilino, University of California Davis
James Moore, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Applications of life history and fisheries data for improved management of skates
Joseph Bizzarro, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

Estimating regional krill biomass and availability: significance to California salmonids during a period of extreme environmental variability
Jeffrey Dorman, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research
William Sydeman, Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research

Cultural, economic, and public health determinants of social vulnerability to seafood contaminants in an urban embayment in Southern California
David Pedersen, University of California San Diego
Theresa Talley, University of California San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California Sea Grant

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.