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Recent stories

Thu, 09 Oct 2014

UCSB scientists lead a team designing a Marine Biodiversity Observation Network
Researchers from UCSB, including several SBC LTER investigators, are joining the USGS, NOAA, NASA and BOEM to demonstrate a new prototype system - the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. The local five-year project led by Bob Miller will focus on the Santa Barbara Channel. A total of three demonstration marine biological observation networks will be established in four locations: the Florida Keys and Monterey Bay, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the continental shelf of the Chukchi Sea in Alaska. The long-term goal is to expand the network to track diversity of marine organisms globally at scales ranging from microbes to whales. Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries. The networks will integrate data on large-scale sea-surface conditions observed by satellites with observations made in the ocean and the laboratory. They will build partnerships with existing long-term biodiversity efforts, explore innovative uses of new in situ observations and genomic techniques, and improve access to integrated biodiversity data (more information).
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Fri, 26 Sep 2014

Floating Forests
Two SBC LTER associated investigators, Jarrett Byrnes (UMass Boston), and Kyle Cavanaugh (UCLA) have developed a website where the public can assist with their research on kelp forests. An algorithm for estimating kelp biomass from NASA Landsat imagery using SBC data collected by divers developed by Cavanaugh has allowed new synoptic analysis of kelp forests over large spatial and temporal scales. Data are now available for central through Baja California. However, in some satellite imagery, computers cannot correctly distinguish kelp from sea foam, but fortunately human eyes can. Floating Forests displays Landsat shoreline images. and visitors are asked circle the kelp forest they see in the images, The results will help reveal valuable new information about how giant kelp and the marine ecosystems they support have changed through the last 30 years. Initially, images available on the site are of the coastlines of California and Tasmania. Kelp forests are found along 25% of the world's coastline, and subsequent sets of images will include areas from Chile to South Africa. The team plans to first analyze giant kelp dynamics and canopy coverage, and then estimate the total carbon in the giant kelp across the globe, measuring potential shifts in range, seasonality and distribution over the 30-year Landsat time scale. The collaborators on this project, which includes Zooniverse, have contributed to an education portal, ZooTeach, which contains teaching materials, including lesson plans and other resources related to kelp forests.
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Tue, 20 May 2014

SBC LTER kelp forest field guide is an iPhone app
This new application is a free field guide to 150 algae, plants, fish and invertebrates that inhabit the unique ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean kelp forests. Students, divers and nature lovers will learn about the amazing inhabitants of the California coast and Channel Islands kelp forest ecosystem. The app was a collaborative effort of UCSB Marine Science Institute and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, using data and imagery from SBC LTER. Coding was provided by Citrix Systems. The app is available from the iTunes store under "california kelp forest", and plans are underway for a version for the iPad and Android operating systems as well.
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Two natural history applications for smart phones
The "California kelp forests" and "California tide pools" are 2 new free apps for smart phones, supported by UCSB Marine Science Institute's Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science (OCTOS) and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Together, these provide a rich experience for students and nature lovers to learn about the local marine life. Released in 2012, "California tide pools" is now available for iPhone, iPad and Android operating systems. "California kelp forests" is currently available only for iPhone, but plans are underway to develop a version for the iPad and Android operating systems as well. Coding was provided by Citrix Systems.
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Thu, 03 Apr 2014

SBC members at 10th International Temperate Reefs Symposium in Perth
SBC investigators Dan Reed and Steve Schroeter and graduate student Dan Okamoto participated in the 10th International Temperate Reefs Symposium in Perth, Australia in January 2014. The International Temperate Reefs Symposium (ITRS) is held every two years. This symposium is recognized as the world's premier conference on the ecology of rocky reefs. SBC lead PI Reed gave an invited plenary talk entitled "The value of a long-term perspective in understanding short-term dynamics of giant kelp ecosystems" at the symposium. SBC graduate student Dan Okamoto's presentation on "The role of food limitation on reproductive capacity and larval recruitment in purple sea urchins" was the first runner up for the Best Student Paper Award.
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Tue, 01 Apr 2014

New study of Santa Barbara coastal ecosystem vulnerability
NOAA Climate Program Office's Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) program and NOAA Sea Grant recently awarded two grants to conduct a coastal ecosystem vulnerability assessment in the Santa Barbara area. SBC investigators, Melack, Page, Reed and Dugan are working with lead investigator, Monique Myers, Sea Grant advisor, Scripps researchers Dan Cayan and Sam Iacobellis and USGS scientist, Patrick Barnard on the study which focuses on the vulnerability of key coastal ecosystems including watersheds, wetlands and beaches to climate change impacts. The researchers will work with city and county partners to develop a guidance document that informs climate adaptation planning.
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