Project Description: Assessment of Abalone and Urchin Populations in Monterey

Summary

Black abalone have been protected from all fishing in central California since 1993 and some populations in marine reserves have been protected over 80 years. In 2005 the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released an Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) that identified criteria for abalone recovery. A study by Micheli et al. in 2007 surveyed black abalone sizes and densities at eight sites across the Monterey Peninsula and found that some locations met a few of the criteria, but no locations met all of them. They did not find a relationship between duration of protection and density, but did find that marine reserves had a greater number of larger abalone. This project, integrated into an undergraduate capstone class at CSU Monterey Bay, re-examines black abalone and urchin population sizes and densities at the locations surveyed by Micheli et al. to assess population recovery over ten years later. Integrating research like this into undergraduate classes is a high-impact teaching practice and provides students opportunities to contribute to authentic research as well as the ability to establish needed long-term data sets on an annual basis. This project also works with collaborators at UCSC to monitor urchin recruitment at two sites along the Monterey Peninsula: Stillwater Cove and the Monterey Harbor.

Student Involvement

This project is part of a group capstone class at CSUMB (MSCI 445) that served 22 students during AY 17-18. There are also two students currently working on the urchin recruitment project.

Broader Significance

This work will generate valuable data on abalone abundances which have not been collected at these sites since 2008. This project will contribute to knowledge of black abalone status and provide students with an authentic research opportunity, which has been shown to be a high-impact teaching practice that increases retention in science and overall understanding of scientific principles.

IfAME Principal Investigator

Dr. Alison Haupt

Financial Support

CSUMB Faculty Incentive Grant

Field Support

N/A

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