Joe’s Theoretical Ecology paper is finally in print!

It only took a year…..

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Larval transport seminar TODAY

This just in from Dave:

FYI – I’m on Cheryl’s committee at UCSC and she’s working with Satoshi’s CA current in a box sims. Might be of interest. DV

Dear Colleagues,

Our CIRF seminar today at 4pm in ENG II, room 2243, will be:

From the shelf and back again: the kinematics of larval transport

Cheryl Harrison UC Santa Cruz

Abstract Understanding ocean transport of marine species is an important problem in marine ecology, with consequences from genetic connectivity up to marine ecosystem management practices. Many species spawn in fertile upwelling systems such as the California Current, and their offspring (larvae) often require a planktonic stage where they are transported by ocean currents. In upwelling systems, offshore transport is organized into coherent structures such as jets, filaments and eddies that have strong effects on the transport of marine larvae. Here I will discuss the dynamics of offshore larval transport and settlement patterns in an idealized upwelling ocean model. Lagrangian coherent structures (LCS) can identify transport pathways associated with upwelling filaments, and also predict they will be stable to “swimming” perturbation. Eddy-eddy interaction (the so-called inverse cascade) results in dense packets of material that sweep together larvae from a wide range of source regions and release times. Settlement patterns are dominated by the upwelling jet, which acts as a transport barrier—“the tattered curtain”—that is somewhat controlled by upwelling wind relaxation. Finally, mixing measures, both variance and fractal based, are used to assess the patchiness of larval density distributions.

Best wishes, Eckart Meiburg Professor Department of Mechanical Engineering Director, Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Fluids University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106 phone: (805) 893-5278 fax : (805) 893-5278 email:

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Crow’s paper on marine spatial planning is out in PNAS

Crow, with Ben Halpern and Carrie Kappel, looks at the tradeoffs between wind energy, whale watching, and two commercial fisheries in Massachusetts, using spatial arrangement of the wind farms as the control variable. They plot out a four-dimensional Pareto efficiency frontier – prepare to have your mind bent!


White, C., B.S. Halpern, and C.V. Kappel. 2012. Ecosystem service tradeoff analysis reveals the value of marine spatial planning for multiple ocean uses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 109: 4696-4701. [pub/OA]

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is an emerging responsibility of resource managers around the United States and elsewhere. A key proposed advantage of MSP is that it makes tradeoffs in resource use and sector (stakeholder group) values explicit, but doing so requires tools to assess tradeoffs. We extended tradeoff analyses from economics to simultaneously assess multiple ecosystem services and the values they provide to sectors using a robust, quantitative, and transparent framework. We used the framework to assess potential conflicts among offshore wind energy, commercial fishing, and whale-watching sectors in Massachusetts and identify and quantify the value from choosing optimal wind farm designs that minimize conflicts among these sectors. Most notably, we show that using MSP over conventional planning could prevent >$1 million dollars in losses to the incumbent fishery and whale-watching sectors and could generate >$10 billion in extra value to the energy sector. The value of MSP increased with the greater the number of sectors considered and the larger the area under management. Importantly, the framework can be applied even when sectors are not measured in dollars (e.g., conservation). Making tradeoffs explicit improves transparency in decision-making, helps avoid unnecessary conflicts attributable to perceived but weak tradeoffs, and focuses debate on finding the most efficient solutions to mitigate real tradeoffs and maximize sector values. Our analysis demonstrates the utility, feasibility, and value of MSP and provides timely support for the management transitions needed for society to address the challenges of an increasingly crowded ocean environment.

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Two recently accepted papers

Congratulations, James and Crow!

Watson, J.R., B.E. Kendall, D.A. Siegel, and S. Mitarai. In press. Changing seascapes, stochastic connectivity and marine metapopulation dynamics. American Naturalist.

White, C., C. Costello, B.E. Kendall, and C.J. Brown. In press. The value of coordinated management of interacting ecosystem services. Ecology Letters.

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Rachel to speak in IGPMS colloquium next Tuesday

IGPMS Winter Colloquium

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
12:00 noon
Marine Science Auditorium 1302

Rachel Simons
Earth Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara

Modeling larval connectivity in the Southern California Bight: The impact of hidden parameters”
Larval connectivity in the coastal ocean is defined as the exchange of planktonic larvae between nearshore subpopulations.  Since many marine organisms spend their early lives as planktonic larvae dispersed by ocean currents, accurately predicting larval transport and connectivity is critical for understanding marine population dynamics and implementing environmental protection.  The most widely used method for predicting larval transport is through the use linked ocean circulation and particle tracking models, termed “biophysical” models.  Biophysical models, also known as individual based models, are well suited to simulate larval transport because larval physiology and behavior can be easily imposed on individual particles.  When a biophysical model is used to simulate larval transport, the modeler must select three parameters, the number of particles released, the particle release depth, and the particle advection time.  I call these hidden parameters because once they have been set, they are usually assumed to have little or no influence on the model results.  In my talk, I will first describe how particle trajectories produced by a biophysical model of the Southern California Bight (SCB) are transformed into estimates larval transport and connectivity.  Then I will show how larval transport patterns produced by the SCB biophysical model are sensitive to the hidden parameters and how model robustness can be achieved.

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MPAs in the news

News article in this week’s Nature gives a good overview of where we are globally with respect to marine protected areas.

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Congratulations Dr. Yau!

Annie gave an outstanding presentation on her dissertation yesterday afternoon, and her committee signed off enthusiastically.  Annie will be celebrating at Dargan’s tonight.

Great job!

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