California’s ocean and coast face a variety of environmental stressors that vary considerably over time and space. How can resource managers separate the ecological consequences of removing or reducing fishing pressure inside an MPA from other factors such as increased sea surface temperatures, variations in acidity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and climate-related ecological phenomena such as harmful algal blooms and marine disease?
This project aims to address that question for the first time in California by integrating data from various investigators, locations, habitats, and methods to produce robust assessments of change in key environmental indicators at a variety of scales. The researchers will use satellite data and other ocean observing systems to develop regularly updating data products, allowing them to quantify relationships between large-scale oceanographic phenomena and conditions inside MPAs. The project will integrate existing models and in situ data, and create quantitative, indicator-based assessments of environmental health and water quality in MPAs.
These assessments will help to place long-term MPA monitoring in the broader context of changing ocean conditions, a key need for the state.