Project Description: San Clemente Island Baseline Characterization and Monitoring Project

Summary

The primary goal of this project is to characterize the distribution, abundance, and community composition of fishes, invertebrates, and seafloor microhabitats using an approach that is comparable to the South Coast MPA Baseline project described below. Imagery is collected using an ROV. Post-processing of project data is on-going in the IfAME Image Analysis Lab. Additional high-resolution topographic mapping of the seafloor was conducted by the Seafloor Mapping Lab.

Student Involvement

This project, thus far, has engaged a total of 32 students from CSUMB, including 28 undergraduates and 4 graduate students, in field research activities, data post-processing, and analysis. Currently, while decisions on the timing of long-term monitoring across the state are being considered, the emphasis is on the analysis of data extracted from existing video.

Broader Significance

On January 1, 2012, the California Fish and Game Commission designated 52 marine protected areas (356 square miles) in the South Coast Study Region (extending from Point Conception in the north to the US-Mexico border in the south) under California’s Marine Life Protection Act. San Clemente Island, which is owned by the US Navy, was not included in the wider southern California region initially. However, after the baseline characterization began, the Navy requested that similar projects be conducted at the island. Additional funding for long-term monitoring is currently under consideration.

IfAME PI

Dr. James Lindholm

Financial Support

US Department of Defense, CSUMB Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center, James W. Rote Distinguished Professorship in Marine Science and Policy at CSU Monterey Bay, Private donations

Field Support

F/V Donna Kathleen; R/V Harold Heath

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