Annotated Bibliography: Kelp Forest Ecology

March 16, 2019

Kelp Forest Ecology

Blanchette, C. et al. (2005). Regime shifts, community change and population booms of keystone predators at the Channel Islands. Proceedings of the 6th California Islands Symposium.

This report assesses how the presence and abundance of ochre sea stars (Pisater ochraceus) affects the population dynamics of the Channel Islands ecosystem. This study focuses on the intertidal communities, however, many of the threatened species like the abalone species that inhabit the island also compete for space in the intertidal and subtidal habitats. The results of this study show that high levels of sea star recruitment after ecologically impactful events like El Ninos allows for sea stars to recolonize and outcompete slower recovery species such as abalone. This study is useful when building this GIS application due to its ability to account for shifts in population dynamics in the years following an El Nino event at the Channel Islands.


Caselle, J. 2013. Ten Years Later: MPAs are working to restore ocean health.

This condition report, along with the 5-year and 13-year reports, provide population and biomass assessments throughout the Channel Islands National Park/Reserve. This 10-year assessment compares abundance and biomass data to the first baseline measurements in the CDFW 5-year report. The major findings from this report shows that fish biomass and abundance are increasing both inside and outside of the MPAs, with targeted species having the largest increase for both sites. Ratios of individual species were taken to compare abundance inside and outside of MPAs and several species displayed a shift in higher abundances outside of the MPAs. This could be the first signs of the spill-over effect occuring since the MPAs were implemented. This report, along with the 5-year and 13-year reports, can act as a guideline for comparing average changes among the Channel Islands National Park for each of the monitored sites.


CDFW. (2008). Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas: First 5 Years of Monitoring: 2003-2008. Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and Channel Islands National Park.

This condition report, along with the 10-year and 13-year reports, provide population and biomass assessments throughout the Channel Islands National Park/Reserve. The report is the first major assessment of the effects of the MPAs on the Channel Islands ecosystem. It is mentioned in the report that the values represented are not an accurate estimation of the impact of increased protections due to the time required for marine ecosystems to display changes. However, the report does provide the first baseline for which the MPAs can be compared to in the future. The report focuses on the ratio difference between fish densities inside and outside of the MPAs, these ratios can be replicated for annual monitoring data in order to determine how the ratios change overtime and how ecologically impactful events change the ratios.


Eckert, G., Engle, J., Kushner, D. (1999). Sea Star Disease and Populations Declines at the Channel Islands. Proceedings of the Fifth California Island Symposium.

This report tracks the sea-star wasting event during the 1997 outbreak and the widespread damage it caused to Channel Islands sea-star populations. Reports like these that detail the extent of an ecologically impactful event can help account for changes in resilience and stability during that time period and after. By comparing changes in resilience and stability during this time period, it may reveal where on the islands the greatest levels of resilience to outbreaks occur. In addition to comparing that specific time period, future sea star wasting events can be compared to this report in order to assess changes in resiliency and stability to outbreaks over time.


Graham, M. (2004). Effects of local deforestation on the diversity and structure of Southern California giant kelp forest food webs. Ecosystems, Vol.7 (4) pp. 341-357.

This article examines the interactions and effects that subtidal species found within the Channel Islands National Park have upon one another. In addition this article examines how the ecosystem dynamics are altered by deforestation events of the ecosystem engineering kelp species. This article is highly beneficial when building a GIS application to examine kelp forest resilience. The ability to reference the associations between species within a given site may help strengthen the analysis of resiliency as well as stability by placing greater values on closely associated species.


ONMS. (2018). Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary 2016 Condition Report. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, U.S. Department of Commerce, Silver Spring, MD.

This condition report, along with the 5-year and 10-year reports, provide population and biomass assessments throughout the Channel Islands National Park/Reserve. In addition, this condition report presents valuable data on the change in kelp forest cover before and after MPA implementation (Figure S.Hab.10.1). This data is highly valuable to the GIS application by presenting regional averages that individual sites can be compared against. The individual monitored sites could then be valued as above or below the average kelp abundance which may result in further understanding of changes in kelp forest resilience. Other valuable information from this report includes the giant kelp density by island assessment (Figure S.Hab.10.2) which reports the density of kelp >1m tall at all of the islands. This is an important assessment due to a majority of the monitoring data not taking height into consideration and what implications vertical canopy have on the stability of the kelp forest ecosystem.


Schroeder, D., Love, M. (2002). Recreational fishing and the marine fish populations in California. Cal COFI Rep., Vol. 43 pp. 182-190.

This report measures the impacts that the recreational fisheries have have in California. This studt is important for building this GIS application due to the socio-economic implications that closures and recovery of targeted fish species might have on the impacted recreational fishing industry. The major finding from this report is that recreational fishing dide have a significant impact on the abundance and biomass of ecologically important fish species. The time Channel Islands MPA data have help support or disprove this assertion by showing what changes occur in abundance and biomass immediately after MPA implementation.


Steneck, R. et al. (2002). Kelp forest ecosystem: biodiversity, stability, resilience, and future. Envionmental Conservation, Vol. 29:4 436-459.

This report highlights the primary challenges faced by global kelp forests. The most impactful threats currently are regime shifts caused by urchin barrens and other predatory release challenges due to overfishing. Future effects of deforestation might be mitigated through the increase in local biodiversity and ecosystem complexity. This study is relevant to this GIS application by supporting the concept of increased resilience based on ecosystem biodiversity and complexity. Sites reviewed for resilience can take into account the number of species found at each trophic level in order to strengthen or weaken the relationship to resilience.


Paddack, M., Estes, J. (2000) Kelp forest fish populations in marine reserves and adjacent exploited areas of central California. Ecological Applications. Vol. 10(3) pp. 855-870

This article examined the differences in densities of fish populations inside and outside of MPAs along central California. The results of the study showed no statistically significant increases of fish density inside of the marine protected areas. However, trends were seen with slight increases in density within MPAs. This study uses habitat as a factor to determine variation between the protected and unprotected habitats. This habitat variation will be a useful tool when designing the GIS application. Many of the 37 sites monitored within the Channel Islands National Park have variability in the substrate, temperature, and species dynamics and therefore this study could be a useful outline to test these differences.


Pukini, Cory. (2018) Marine Benthic Habitat Mapping of the Channel Islands National Park: A Characterization of Monitored Sites Using High-Resolution Bathymetric Analysis. Thesis.

This thesis utilizes Channel Islands monitoring data and bathymetric mapping in order to build relationships betweeen the monitored benthic species and the physical habitat. The goal was to test the importance between species and environments in order to rank the relationships based on impact to the overall environment. The primary finding was the kelp was the most important species to the overall ecosystem health. This study reinforces the goal of this GIS application in assessing kelp forest resilience among monitored sites at the Channel Islands National Park. The relationships found within this study could help identify changes in resilience based on shifts seen in both kelp and the species that utilize kelp.

Annotated Bibliography: Resilience

March 16, 2019


Holling, C. (1973). Reilience and Stability of Ecological Systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 4:1 1-23.

This article was found after reviewing the Quilian (2015) article on the various forms of resilience and how each is defined. The Hollings paper (1973) establishes and defines the role that ecological resilience has in a complex ecosystem. In addition this article separates the two ideas of stability and resilience with stability relating to the ability to return to a previous state while resilience is the ability maintain relationships while absorbing impactful events. Both values are important for this GIS application when reviewing how population dynamics and abundances changes from year to year. Separating the two concepts allows for resilience and stability to be measured individually rather than a singular value.


Quilian, A., Berbes-Blazquea, M., Haider, L., Peterson, G. (2015) Measuring and assessing resilience: broadening understanding though multiple disciplinary perspectives. Journal of Applied Ecology. Vol. 53(3) 677-687.

The report defines the various ways resilience can be measured and for what goal each method is designed to achieve. These definitions of resilience can help determine which method would be most appropriate or effective for the Channel Islands as well as potentially designed multiple assessments against multiple forms of resilience. The two most pertinent types of resilience that would benefit this study would be engineering resilience and ecological resilience where the focus is on the ability of an ecosystem to withstand or recover functioning after an impact.

Annotated Bibliography: MPA Efficacy

March 14, 2019

MPA Efficacy

Hamilton, S. C. (2010). Incorporating biogeography into evaluations of the Channel Islands Marine reserve network. PNAS, Vol. 103(43) pp. 18272-18277.

This study assesses the changes overtime of targeted and non-targeted fish species both inside and outside of the Channel Islands MPAs. Major findings from this report show that the MPAs show increases in both abundance and biomass of targeted species inside and outside of MPAs while non-targeted species had little difference between the two types of sites. This study is highly beneficial to the GIS application reviewing kelp forest ecosystem resilience by establishing the concept that these MPAs do indeed increase fish productivity inside of the MPAs. Therefore any significant decreases in fish abundance or biomass may indicate a negative impact to kelp forest resilience.


Davis, G. (2005). Science and Society: Marine Reserve Design for the California Channel Islands. Conservation Biology, Vol. 19:6 pp.1745-1751.

This article provides a historical review on how and why the protections were put in place at the Channel Islands National Park. The primary discussion of protected areas at the islands came from the major collapse of the kelp forest ecosystems and the services that they provides for the mainland communities, i.e. fishing and recreation. The MPA design was therefore a combination of both ecological factors as well as social/economic factors. This paper contradicts the GIS applications focus on using only ecological resilience and engineering resilience in order to assess the efficacy of the MPA design. Considerations to this socio-ecological resilience factor will be given during the collection of the Channel Islands MPA data.

Pomeroy, R., Watson, L., Parks, J., Cid, G. (2005). How is you MPA doing? A methodology for evaluating the management effectiveness of marine protected areas. Ocean and Coastal Management, Vol. 48(7-8) pp. 485-502.

This report outlines the two primary goals of the Marine Protected Area: Management Effectiveness Initiative (MPA MEI) with the first relating to spillover potential and the second relating to increasing socio-economic value to the impacted fisheries. The primary concerns raised in the report relate to the difficultly in assessing whether or not a MPA or MPA network design is effective in relation to these objectives. This paper can be useful in building a GIS application for observing changes in kelp forest resilience due to it presenting a baseline objective to gauge each monitored site against. From this each of the 37 sites can be deemed effective or ineffective based on annual changes in spillover and self-sustainability.