One of the main strengths of the long term ecological research program
is that it allows us to evaluate changes in the ecological community
against the background of natural long-term variability. This
long-term context is particularly important when we seek to
distinguish between changes caused by natural processes and those
caused by human activities. SBC LTER has undertaken long-term
measurements of the abundance of reef algae, invertebrates and fish
within permanent transects at 11 kelp forest sites in the Santa
Barbara Channel. These data represent one of the core research
activities of SBC LTER and they provide a relatively comprehensive
description of community structure and dynamics of kelp forest
communities within our study region.
The abundance and size of a specified number of common species of
invertebrates and algae are sampled by divers in quadrats (1 m
squared) at each of the six permanent locations along permanent
transects. See the protocol document for more information.