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During the 2011 Capitol Hill Oceans Week, former NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco offered that the health of the Ocean is everyone’s business.
The United Nations defines Ocean health as, “the condition of the marine environment from the perspective of adverse effects caused by anthropogenic activities, in particular, changes in biodiversity, genetic loss, habitat loss and alteration in ecosystem structure and processes.” (International Oceanographic Commission. 2001). It is, therefore, critical to ocean health and socio-ecological resiliency that species, and the ecosystems in which they live, are protected, and studied, long-term to better understand the steps needed to maintain our most valuable resource-the Ocean.
On the brink of extinction, the white abalone, Haliotis rufescens, was once a prolific marine snail that ranged from Point Conception, California, USA to Baja Abreojos, Baja California, Mexico (Hobday et al. 2001). Historical records and artifacts indicate that the abalone played a major socio-ecological role in the lives of the Chumash, the maritime Native Americans found from San Luis Obispo, California to Malibu, Californa, USA. And, until 1996, when the fishery was closed, white abalone was a major component of local commercial fisheries (Hobday et al. 2001). Due to the lack of long-term ecological data, and the threat ocean health and climate change may pose to white abalone, it is critical to preserve and propagate current, captive broodstock.
This proposal request $15,000 for the maintenance and improvement of the current holding facility and capabilities of the Marine Science Institute at UCSB based on recommendations from CDFW and BBML. This is in support of the captive propagation efforts lead by the Bodega Bay Marine Lab (BBML), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), along with the supporting efforts of the Ty Warner Sea Center-Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (TWSC-SBMNH), the Cabrillo Aquarium in San Pedro, Ca, and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California.
These funds will support work being conducted from Fall 2014-Fall 2015 This will be done through updates and enhancement of the current life support, sea water system and holding tanks at MSI, and salary support for research staff and an undergraduate lab assistant.