Task 5: Kelp Management and Restoration

Award Period
Award Amount
Agency Name
Nature Conservancy
Award Number
SB200210-Task 5
PI First Name
PI Last Name
Thomas Bell
MSI People
Area/s of Research
Ecology and Evolution
Marine Conservation, Policy and Education

Task 1: Provide kelp ecosystem science to advance kelp management and restoration

Dr. Caselle and team will provide kelp forest ecosystem expertise and scientific advice to support the

science foundations of the Conservancy’s Kelp Conservation Strategy, including engaging with other Conservancy grantees working on kelp conservation projects. She will act as a liaison among various partners (e.g. scientific community, Ocean Protection Council, California Department of Fish and Wild-life) to help ensure that the broader set of science and implementation activities are informed by science. She will help the Conservancy staff be aware of and understand the kelp science efforts of various entities in California. Dr. Caselle will provide specific written components of a structured decision-making framework report and peer-review manuscript, specifically focused on conceptual models of drivers of kelp loss, a summary of kelp interventions and guidance on how alternative interventions should be evaluated, and guidance on designing kelp interventions and monitoring to support learning and adaptive management. Following peer review of a draft report “A structured approach for kelp restoration and management decisions in California”, Dr. Caselle will work with Conservancy staff to draft a peer review manuscript based on that report. Dr. Caselle will ensure that a the products of a parallel scientific study on kelp restoration being developed as part of CA Seagrant funded research program build upon and refer to the structured decision making framework and the guidebook on best practices for kelp restoration. Dr. Caselle will support and attend a virtual convening of global kelp restoration experts and support the development and science review of a guidebook on best practices for kelp restoration. Dr. Caselle will help represent the Conservancy in international forums and conferences on kelp science and restoration. 

Task 2: Provide data and expertise on use of remote sensing to advance kelp conservation and man-agement

The Conservancy is engaged with a broad set of partners using different types of remote sensing technolo-gies to advance our understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of kelp abundance. In particular, the Conservancy is developing Kelp Watch, an online platform that incorporates processed Landsat data and allows users to visualize kelp extent at different scales. Dr. Caselle will provide input and advice on visualization and interpretation of remotely-sensed kelp data. She and Dr. Bell will work to understand customer needs for the Kelp Watch platform. She will oversee the work of Dr. Tom Bell who is processing Landsat data in Google Earth Engine to pro-vide the data inputs into the Kelp Watch platform. Dr. Bell will process and provide remotely sensed data from the Baja California to Washington state, building off of prior work to do this for California. He will also conduct ground-truthing of these data, if possible and necessary. He will participate in regular meet-ings with TNC project staff including the Tech Team to communicate status and format of the database, any roadblocks encountered, and ensure open communication around timelines. In addition, Dr. Bell will conduct outreach to potential Kelp Watch users during the summer of 2020 and share feedback with pro-ject team with the aim of refining the product for increased uptake in the field. Dr. Bell will also participate in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys in northern California in the fall of 2020 to collect data to document current condition and abundance of bull kelp in Sonoma and Mendo-cino Counties. Dr. Bell will provide support for a peer-review manuscript on UAV kelp data collection and analysis from the North Coast surveys.

Note, we acknowledge the field work components of Task 2 are contingent upon University permissions and oversight, considering the Covid-19 health and safety context.