Conservation

Critically endangered sea star not recovering in the wild, scientists point to the need for restoration efforts

New research documenting the population crash of the iconic sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides), and complete absence of population recovery since the 2013 outbreak of the marine wildlife epidemic sea star wasting disease, was published today in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The study calls for new strategies for protecting species impacted by increasingly frequent marine epidemics associated with changing ocean conditions.

Survivors of Climate Driven Abalone Mass Mortality Exhibit Declines in Health and Reproduction Following Kelp Forest Collapse

Marine ecosystems are vulnerable to climate driven events such as marine heatwaves yet we have a poor understanding of whether they will collapse or recover. Kelp forests are known to be susceptible, and there has been a rise in sea urchin barrens around the world. When temperatures increase so do physiological demands while food resources decline, tightening metabolic constraints. In this case study, we examine red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) looking at sublethal impacts and their prospects for recovery within kelp forests that have shifted to sea urchin barrens.

Saving White Abalone with UC Davis Project Scientist Kristin Aquilino

UC Davis project scientist Kristin Aquilino directs the Bodega Marine Laboratory's white abalone captive breeding program. In this video, she discusses the work she and her colleagues are doing to bring the endangered species back from the brink of extinction. This week marks the first time captive bred white abalone will be released to the ocean in hopes of saving the species.

An Undersea Forest In Decline

Envision California’s lush forests from San Francisco to the Oregon border. Now imagine that 90 percent of those forests disappear within two years. Laura Rogers-Bennett, senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, says that’s exactly what happened to underwater kelp forests off Northern California’s coastline from 2014-16.

Read more & listen to the piece on Science Friday

Endangered White Abalone Program Yields Biggest Spawning Success Yet

Millions of Eggs Bring Program 1 Step Closer to Saving Species

The Bodega Marine Laboratory’s white abalone program has millions of new additions following its most successful spawning ever at the University of California, Davis, facility. Three out of nine recently collected wild white abalone spawned last week, as did seven of 12 captive-bred white abalone. One wild female was particularly generous, producing 20.5 million eggs herself.

Large Stretches of Coral Reefs Can Be Rehabilitated

New ‘Spider’ Technique Found to Help Coral Reefs

Even after being severely damaged by blast fishing and coral mining, coral reefs can be rehabilitated over large scales using a relatively inexpensive technique, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, in partnership with Mars Symbioscience.