Monitoring & Evaluation of Kelp Forest Ecosystems in the MLPA Marine Protected Area Network: 2021-2022

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Agency Name
UC Santa Cruz
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Area/s of Research
Climate Change Science
Ecology and Evolution
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education

Shallow rocky reefs and kelp forests are iconic coastal marine ecosystems, which
support economically and culturally significant ecosystem services along the coastline of
California and its offshore islands. Consequently, this ecosystem was targeted for
protection in the MLPA Master Plan and prioritized in the Marine Protected Area
Monitoring Action Plan (MPAMAP). To achieve the long-term monitoring and evaluation
goals identified in the MPAMAP, we have organized a consortium of institutions
distributed across the three MPAMAP regions of California, with interdisciplinary
expertise in ecological and environmental monitoring and MPA evaluation. The
consortium is uniquely qualified and geographically situated to design, conduct, analyze
and present ecological and environmental monitoring results to directly address many of
the management questions identified in the MPAMAP relevant to this ecosystem. We
propose to collect historic MPA monitoring and environmental data sets, collect new
ecological and environmental data over all three years of the project, simultaneously
analyze these data yearly, and generate graphical and textual interpretations for
presentation prior to and at the 2022 evaluation review. We will conduct this work in
close consultation with CDFW, OPC and OST personnel.
The overarching goal is to inform the adaptive management of California’s network of
MPAs with focus on network review in 2022.