Project Description: The Value of Habitat Diversity in Marine Reserves: Spiny Lobster use of the Intertidal Zone at the Santa Catalina MPA

Summary

A guiding principle in the design of marine protected areas is that a diversity of habitats must be included to provide the complete range of ecosystem services for exploited species. This is especially true of species that use different habitats at different times in their reproductive cycles. In this study we propose to use a long term data set on intertidal habitat composition and demography of spiny lobster in the Santa Catalina Island MPA. This set of data is unique in that it contains information on intertidal habit composition and demographic information for spiny lobsters in the years preceding the establishment of the MPA, the year the MPA was established and in the years following the establishment of the MPA. As part of this project we will collect two additional years of survey data which will then be analyzed in a Before After Control Impact Paired Series (BACIPS) analysis. Our project can provide researchers and managers with strong quantitative information on the impact of the Catalina MPA on key demographic features of in populations of spiny lobster. This project will also provide insight into the importance of incorporating intertidal habitat into the design of MPAs that target this species in Southern California.

Student Involvement

The project has supported the participation of 2 graduate students, Mary McCormick and Sean Windell. Ms. McCormick and Mr. Windell completed their graduate degrees this past July. Ms. McCormick teaches introductory Ocean Science courses here at CSUMB while Mr. Windell holds a position as Sea Grant State Fellow in Sacramento. Three undergraduate have been supported by the project, Mr. Mitchell Takata, Ms. Katie Sowul and Ms. Oliviya Wyse. All three have graduated from CSUMB Ms. Sowul and Ms. Wyse currently work as scientific aides for CDFW.

Broader Significance

The project provides new insights on how scaling mismatches between reserve design and the scale at which target species utilize habitat can impact the performance of an MPA. Our integrated GIS and stable isotope approach is providing new insight into how manager can improve future MPA designs in order to minimize these types of scaling mismatches.

IfAME PI

Dr. Corey Garza

Financial Support

University of Southern California Sea Grant, California Ocean Science Trust

Field Support

CSUMB Boats, USC Wrigley Marine Station Dive Facility, R/V Miss Christie

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