A new paper, coauthored with colleagues at UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Using sophisticated ocean circulation models and long term measurements of giant kelp abundance and fecundity from satellite data, we have discovered the importance of connectivity to the persistence, extinction, and recovery of giant kelp populations in southern California. Our work also reveals that year-to-year changes in spore production are the most important to successfully rescuing neighboring kelp populations. These findings advance understanding of metapopulation biology broadly, but are also valuable to ocean conservation because they can inform which kelp forests should be prioritized for protection or where coastal restoration efforts could be most effective.
Our results have also been summarized by The UCSB Current.
From left to right: Rachel Simons, Dan Reed, Max Castorani, Dave Siegel, and Tom Bell. Photo credit: Sonia Fernandez