In a recent paper PISCO Principal Investigators Mark Carr, Pete Raimondi and Margaret McManus show that MPA monitoring must have a physical component to partner with the traditional ecological monitoring to accurately assess the effects of ecosystem change, in the coastal oceans, for example future climatic changes.
PISCO PI Pete Raimondi is co-author on a recently published study validating one of the principle concepts behind the use of marine protected areas. Using marine reserves, (marine protected areas that are assigned the highest level of protection, prohibiting all forms of fishing and resource extraction) Raimondi tested the theory that marine reserves can benefit fisheries via spillover of adults and enhanced larval dispersal from protected sites.
For my dissertation, I investigated the movement patterns, their causes and consequences, of adult reef fishes on shallow temperate rocky reefs in the eastern Pacific. Most reef fishes exhibit two fundamentally different forms of movement throughout their lifetime: first the dispersal of larvae and later the movement of adults in the benthic environment. Because of the great potential for larval dispersal that characterizes the majority of marine species, this life history pattern has lead to a paradigm of open populations (i.e.
PISCO scientists based at UCSB compared propagule (material used for reproduction) dispersal distances between terrestrial land systems and marine nearshore coastal systems. Using novel genetic techniques, dispersal distances were measured among different taxonomic groups and compared to terrestrial dispersal to place these distances in context. The results confirm some long-standing views regarding the large dispersal potential of ocean organisms.
Recent results from a PISCO study at Oregon State University have shown that even relatively straight coastlines may have enhanced recruitment zones attributable to the variable local oceanography.
PISCO researchers at Stanford University have found that certain species of barnacles use heat shock protein 70 as a "preparative defense" strategy, maintaining high levels of Hsp70 in their cells as a mechanism for protection against periods of extreme and unpredictable heat stress. Barnacles are a key animal in the intertidal both as a source of prey and a source of larvae which are an important food source in the near shore pelagic environment.
In 2008, PISCO researchers documented the rise of anoxic waters caused by upwelling currents. Upwelling currents typically support extremely productive ecosystems (20% of global fishery yield are taken from upwelling areas) because they transport nutrient-rich water from the deep to surface waters where they can be used by photosynthetic organisms.
Striking differences in the dispersal of coexisting species have fascinated marine ecologists for decades. Findings from an inter-hemispheric comparison of data suggest that simple models can capture some of the complexity caused by differing life history traits such as modes of dispersal. Despite widespread attention to the impact of dispersal on individual population and species dynamics, the role of dispersal in determining outcomes of species interactions has received comparatively little attention.
In recent laboratory studies, PISCO researchers have created the future ocean and found startling impacts to sea life. A new study shows that the smallest life forms – young of sea urchins – can no longer deal with heat when growing in an increasingly acidic ocean. The ocean is more acidic due to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; predictions are for a warmer and even more acidic ocean. Numerous studies have shown that more acid has great biological impacts.