Shannon Harrer

Marine Science Institute
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6150


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Rocky reef ecosystems are largely dominated by giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, whose quick growth and monopolization of light is well documented as a mechanism for competitive exclusion among most benthos associated primary producers. Relief from intense competition for light is accomplished through disturbance events associated with large winter swells that forcefully uproot Macrocystis individuals reduce surface canopy density and allow ample light to reach the seafloor. To better understand patterns, causes, and ecological consequences of change in understory algal productivity, I am working to develop a logistically simple model incorporating irradiance, photosynthesis vs. irradiance and understory algal abundance data collected by the SBC LTER.