This project will use data collected by professional research divers to describe and assess ecological conditions within the region’s nearshore rocky reefs and kelp forests. Key metrics for assessing ecological status include documenting the density of macroinvertebrates, macroalgae, and benthic fishes; the size structure and density of red abalone and red sea urchins; the percent cover of sessile and colonial invertebrates and algae, and substrate type and reef structure. Except for the abalone and urchin focused surveys, the design and protocols for sampling and collecting data follow those established by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans for long-term MPA monitoring of kelp forests. The eight sites that will be surveyed during the project include four MPAs (Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Double Cone SMCA, Ten Mile State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Pt. Cabrillo SMR) and four reference sites. This project is a collaboration with commercial urchin divers.
Baseline Characterization of Nearshore Rocky Reefs and Kelp Forests