Dive into a Changing Ecosystem: From Lush Kelp Forests to Urchin Barren

March 11, 2021

Kate Vylet, underwater photographer, scientific diver, and divemaster anchored in Monterey Bay, California, Josh Smith, Ph.D. Candidate and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Karen Grimmer, Resource Protection Coordinator with NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Tucked along California's coast is a vibrant underwater forest of towering kelp and diverse wildlife. In the last six years, unprecedented outbreaks of purple sea urchins have decimated kelp forests within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, lending several questions: What caused the urchin outbreak? How have sea otters responded? Will intervention and urchin culling enhance kelp recovery? Through underwater photography and observations by Kate Vylet, and a scientific discussion by Josh Smith and Karen Grimmer, this talk will outline how science, art, and community observation intersect to inform the path forward.

This presentation will be hosted by Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and O'Neill Sea Odyssey.