Biogeographical Variation in Trophic Interactions on Temperate Reefs of the Southern California Bight

Start/End: June, 2010 to March, 2012

The working hypothesis of this project is that the no-take fishing zones established recently in Southern California under the Marine Life Protection Act will alter, perhaps significantly, foodweb dynamics within kelp forests. This is predicted because two of the region’s major fisheries—California spiny lobster and California sheephead—are predators of sea urchin, also a major fishery. This project explores the trophic relationships between these species and how they adjust when fishing pressure is removed. Results will be of relevance to marine reserve science, fisheries managers and urchin fishermen interested in co-management.