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Trends Revealed in Nearly 30 Years of Monitoring Kelp Forests

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Date: June 7, 2010
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

During the June “From Shore to Sea” lectures, National Park Service Biologist David Kushner will discuss changes and trends seen after 28 years of monitoring the kelp forest ecosystems around the Channel Islands.

Kushner oversees the Kelp Forest Monitoring Program—the longest established inventory and monitoring program in the National Park Service. Channel Islands National Park, in cooperation with other agencies and organizations including Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, has studied the kelp forests around the Channel Islands since 1982. This program collects population data on over 70 species of algae, invertebrates, and fish.

Data from the Kelp Forest Monitoring Program play a key role in understanding the effects of harvest on the nearshore marine ecosystem. This long-term monitoring program has helped scientists to understand large-scale ecological patterns in kelp forest communities as well as predict population trends for individual species. In 2005, the program was expanded to better evaluate the effectiveness of Channel Islands marine protected areas.

Kushner received a bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989. He has been a marine biologist at Channel Islands National Park since 1990 and has made over 3,200 dives with the kelp forest monitoring program. His diving career, which started at age 16 in Los Angeles, California, includes diving in projects from Glacier Bay National Park to the Antarctic Peninsula.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Bechers Bay coastline on Santa Rosal Island

Although the park is within 60 miles of 18 million people, it is home to 175 miles of pristine undeveloped coastline.