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State of the Seas at the California Channel Islands

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Date: April 6, 2008
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Two local marine experts, Gary Davis, retired National Park Service Chief Scientist for Ocean Programs, and Dr. Satie Airamé, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Marine Biologist, will discuss the state of the seas at the Channel Islands during the April “From Shore to Sea” lectures.

Davis will discuss how the changes in the oceans over the past four decades have affected our understanding and management of marine resources. He will explain how research and monitoring have been used to measure the health and function of our ocean environment and to indicate stresses on individual species. Davis will describe how this understanding stimulated an effort to preserve our rich coastal resources with the establishment in 2002 of a network of 10 marine reserves and two conservation areas within state waters that surround the park and sanctuary.

Airamé will review the first five years of monitoring of these marine reserves and show how parts of the ecosystem have already benefited from protection. She will describe how scientists have observed that harvested species have higher densities and bigger fish in marine reserves than in the surrounding waters. Airamé will also discuss some surprising findings regarding changes in some California fisheries and how further research and more time is needed to fully assess the value of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Since 2002 Airamé has served as the Marine Policy Coordinator for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) at UCSB. She shares research gathered by PISCO scientists to support science-based policy and management. From 1999 to 2004 Airamé was a scientific advisor for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, where she coordinated a team of scientists involved in the design of the Channel Islands MPAs.

Davis recently retired after forty-plus years with the National Park Service, including assignments at Lassen Volcanic, Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Virgin Islands, and Channel Islands National Parks. He is a Certified Fisheries Scientist with BS and MS degrees in biology from San Diego State College. In 2004 Davis received the American Fisheries Society William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award for substantial career accomplishments in the conservation of aquatic resources.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series, an effort to further the understanding of research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters, is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with generous support from the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008, at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum at 113 Harbor Way in Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, April 9, 2008, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Island night lizard                                     C. Drost

The only reptile found on Santa Barbara Island is the endemic and threatened island night lizard. These lizards can live up to 20 years or more, but once established in a territory generally remain within a 3-meter radius their entire life.