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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Marine biologist Thomas McCormick will be the guest speaker for the October “From Shore to Sea” lecture sponsored by Channel IslandsNational Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. McCormick will focus on the natural history and ecology of white abalone (Haliotis sorenseni), once plentiful in rocky subtidal ocean waters off the west coast of North America including the Channel Islands. In 2001 the white abalone became the first marine invertebrate to be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
McCormick’s presentation, White Abalone Restoration, highlights efforts underway to reestablish white abalone populations in the park and sanctuary. Surveys of historic habitat in the 1990s indicated that population densities had dropped to less than 0.1% of the estimated preexploitation population. Long gaps in reproduction, fishing, poaching, disease, and habitat change have contributed to its decline. The few white abalone remaining in the wild are too far apart to successfully reproduce. Now a cooperative research program and large-scale cultivation of hatchery-raised white abalone offers an opportunity to study all life stages of this invertebrate. These captive-bred white abalone will potentially be reintroduced to the ChannelIsland’s waters as part of a long-term restoration effort.
Tom McCormick received a B.A. in biology from WindhamCollege in 1973 and a M.S. degree in marine science from University of the Pacific in 1979. He has worked with Proteus SeaFarms, Inc. since 1984. His current projects focus on abalone and fish research and mariculture. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10, 2006, at the ChasePalmPark building at 236 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara and Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the VenturaHarbor. The programs are free and open to the public.