Detailed Agenda

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MONDAY, MAY 13, 2024

3:00- 5:00 PM

 Set up Posters and Stage Exhibit Booths
Kon Tiki Ballroom  

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2024

8:00 AM

GATHER coffee and tea 

9:00 AM 

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT & WELCOME: Megan Medina, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System/Scripps Institution of Oceanography  

9:10 AM

KEYNOTE: Paloma Aguirre, Mayor of Imperial Beach

9:25 AM

PLENARY: History of CalCOFI and CalOOS 

Toby Garfield, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (retired)

Eric Terrill, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

10:00 AM

PLENARY: State of the California Current

Andrew Thompson, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center and 

Rasmus Swalethorp, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

10:30 AM

BREAK coffee and tea 


SESSION 1: Sustained Ocean Observing Programs in California 
Aviary Ballroom

Facilitator: Henry Ruhl, Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Chad Whelan, CODAR Ocean Sensors, Ltd
Ongoing and Future Development of the West Coast High Frequency Radar Network

Abstract >>

The West Coast HF Radar network is approaching its 20th anniversary as the world’s largest. Data and products have progressed to where HFR surface currents are now assimilated automatically into NOAA WCOFS, are operationally used for search and rescue and spill response and used in studies as diverse as long-term California Current System observations, HAB advection and whale feeding behavior. Ongoing research topics are numerous. Cal Poly SLO is investigating persistent transport patterns (Lagrangian Coherent Structures) in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area to identify potential ecological hotspots. UCSC is performing an analysis of HFR-derived divergence and COAMPS-modeled wind stress curl on ~10km scales. UCSB researchers recently published a study examining submesoscale eddies in the Southern California Bight based on a 10-year HFR record and are working with WHOI to quantify HFR uncertainties. BML/UCD is working on a decadal summary of flow patterns off California, highlighting regions of onshore/offshore flow, separation of the shelf jet, and persistent mesoscale eddies, to provide new insights for ecosystem studies. NPS and UCSC are measuring offshore river plume evolution through satellite spectral imagery and HFR currents. Novel products and applications are also being developed. CODAR and UCSB began the OTT project, “Improving HF Radar Ocean Observation with AI”, which aims to achieve more accurate observations, inclusion of measurement uncertainties for improved data assimilation, and more efficient calibration. NPS & MLML are investigating RiverSonde currents at Elkhorn Slough to estimate tidal prism for nutrient exchange and erosion/morphological change. Wave products are now being optimized and evaluated from West Coast HFR stations for use by forecasting offices and NWPS stakeholders. Looking forward, HFR researchers and operators are seeking input and collaboration on new products and uses of the network whether climatological like seasonal mean surface currents or integration with other instruments at HFR stations.

Daniel Rudnick, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The 2023-2024 El Nino in the California Current System as Observed by the California Underwater Glider Network

Abstract >>

The evolution of the 2023-2024 El Niño in the CCS will be presented as observed by the California Underwater Glider Network (CUGN). The CUGN uses Spray underwater gliders making repeated dives from to 500 m every 3 hours and 3 km while measuring temperature, salinity, velocity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll fluorescence and acoustic backscatter. The CUGN started in 2005 and continuously occupies three cross-shore CalCOFI lines: line 66.7 off Monterey Bay, line 80 off Point Conception, and line 90 off Dana Point. In 2019, two lines were established at the shelf break (CalCOFI station 60) between lines 80 and 90, and on line 56.7 near Bodega Bay. Past El Niños observed by the CUGN include those in 2009-2010 and 2014-2016. These events were distinguished by anomalously high temperatures and low salinities, consistent with anomalously deep isopycnals. Similar anomalies are already being observed in September 2023. During the very strong El Niño in 2015-2016, anomalously salty water was evident on isopycnals in the poleward flowing California Undercurrent, indicating the influence of advection. This effect was not present during the moderate El Niño of 2009-2010, and it will be telling whether this anomalous saltiness is observed in 2023-2024. The several-year El Niño cycle is embedded in longer decadal variability so that the CCS was anomalously fresh during the 2014-2016 El Niño while CCS waters are salty now. Results in the CCS will be presented in the context of conditions in the equatorial Pacific and in the atmosphere to address the processes that lead to local warming.

Linsey Sala, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Back 75 Years to Envision the Future: A Dive into the Archives to Celebrate the CalCOFI Collaboration

Abstract >>

The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Program is well known to many for its rich history, originally to service the people of the state of California by providing information related to the crash of its most valuable fisheries at the time, the sardine fishery. It grew to monitor an ecosystem and its work has been foundational for other largescale coastal and oceanic monitoring systems and programs like SCCOOS, CenCOOS, and CCE-LTER. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Pelagic Invertebrate Collection (SIO-PIC) at UC San Diego has worked with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center to curate and house physical specimen samples and associated data for research and educational use. Currently, no other technology can collect the type of information locked within these archived samples. This program and its supporting institutions have employed and enriched the personal and professional lives of many: without these people, CalCOFI’s mission cannot not succeed. After a visit to the UC San Diego Library Archives, we were inspired to share some early history of CalCOFI, the Scripps Marine Life Research Group, and the value of archived material and research for understanding our environment and natural resources. As we celebrate this program’s 75th year, we highlight the human and physical specimen component of the longest-running integrated oceanographic time-series in the U.S. EEZ.

John Largier, Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California Davis

Marine Research Stations as a Critical Component of Ocean Observing Systems

Abstract >>

Marine research stations (MRS) have a critical role in ocean observing systems (OOS) as cross-disciplinary observatories embedded in sensor networks. MRS are place-based facilities that enable research and experiential education through access to the ocean at the same time as engaging with local community and tracking local conditions. As we built out the OOS the initial focus was on distributed networks of automated sensors, but as it matures, we are wrestling with three challenges: obtaining more ecological data, developing deeper community engagement, and adding value to data to support decisions. MRS are strong in California and underutilized as place-based nodes within the OOS. What opportunities exist? How do we extrapolate local ecosystem studies at a few MRS sites across a network of sites with only sensor-based information? How do we leverage the education and community engagement at MRS sites? How do we integrate contemporary distributed sensor data and model output with site-specific experimental data and long-term environmental data? This challenge straddles and potentially integrates traditionally separate themes in coastal resilience, habitat state, ocean acidification, hypoxia, harmful algal blooms, pollution, fisheries, infrastructure, and recreation. As we look back at on-site data and forward at a long-term commitment to data collection, MRS are essential observatories along our coast. The promise of improved integration of MRS in OOS includes new partnerships and resources as well as insight and innovation, enhancing the output and impact of ocean observing systems.

Ron Flick, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

SIO Shore Stations Program, A Century of Temperature and Salinity Measurements in California

Abstract >>

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) Shore Stations Program began measuring temperature and salinity using manually collected daily water samples at the newly constructed pier in August 1916. Additional stations spanning Washington, Oregon, and California began collecting data as early as 1919. The SIO pier data is the longest continuous record in the Pacific Rim. Today, 10 temperature stations continue in California with six also measuring salinity. The program exemplifies the value of uniformly collected long-term data for quantifying ocean and regional climate change not possible by any other means. In this presentation we show early program history, indicate advantages and shortcomings of the data including adjustments needed for sampling bias, show how the data supplement automated shore stations programs, and discuss scientific results like contextualizing marine heat waves and extracting regional rainfall fluctuations from salinity data. We also seek feedback and discussion concerning opportunities for collaboration and data sharing with related data sampling programs and research projects. Program details and access to all data are at The Shore Stations Program is funded by California State Parks, Natural Resources Division.

12:00 PM

South Lawn | Mexican Fiesta Buffet

1:00 PM

SESSION 2: California Current System Dynamics
Aviary Ballroom

SESSION 3: Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, Harmful Algal Bloom, and Water Quality


Facilitator: Julia Coates, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 

Facilitator: Alex Harper, Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System/California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt

Christopher Edwards, University of California Santa Cruz

A Review Of The UCSC Modeling Capabilities in Support of California Ocean Observing

Abstract >>

For over a decade, the ocean modeling group at University of California Santa Cruz has been developing and analyzing configurations of the Regional Ocean Modeling System for the California Current as well as data assimilative strategies to maximize benefits from ocean observations. Major advances include a multi-decadal historical set of data assimilative reanalyses, a near real-time data assimilative nowcast, biogeochemical data assimilation, forward and assimilative carbonate chemistry components, climate projections, and high resolution nested configurations. This talk will review a subset of these developments that take advantage of the extensive network of data collected by the California ocean observing system and also review applications of model products.

Uwe Send, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Legacy and Future Role of the Del Mar Mooring

Abstract >>

The Del Mar mooring has been operated since 2006 in 100m depth on the shelf north of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Apart from providing an 18-year long record of currents and conditions on the shelf, it has served many applications, projects, engineering tests, and demonstrated new moored approaches. The mooring also was a central part of teaching and training students at SIO, and many of the mooring swap-outs were conducted during teaching cruises. The talk will show examples from deployments of active acoustics (fish backscatter) sensors, genomic samplers, geodetic instrumentation, seafloor cameras, bottom-mounted pH sensors, nutrient sensors, and IFCBs. Examples from the sustained measurements will be presented, such as event-based analyses or inter-annual changes showing anomalous years. The mooring has become the nucleus of a growing network of shelf moorings operated by SIO, in partnership with other teams. To the south there are two highly multi-disciplinary moorings from the City of San Diego, and additional mini-moorings to monitor cross-border effluent spreading; to the north there is an OAH mooring from Orange County Sanitation District, and together with SCCOOS we are planning to add several mini-moorings along the 30m isobath in other places. These are intended to reveal along-shore variability in OAH dynamics, and start to address cross-shelf connectivity.

Eric Bjorkstedt, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Between Two Capes: Insights From 16 Years Of Observations Along The Trinidad Head Line

Abstract >>

In late 2007, NOAA Fisheries Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Cal Poly Humboldt initiated a time series of year-round ocean observation cruises along what is now known as the Trinidad Head Line. Since then, this growing suite of observations has matured as a source of information on the structure and state of the ocean in an understudied region of the California Current Ecosystem that contributes to coastwide ecosystem assessments, and has attracted additional observation capabilities to the region. Our work has characterized changes in the plankton community across a wide range of climate variability, including El Ninos, La Ninas, and marine heatwaves, documenting shifts in plankton assemblage structure (e.g., the arrival of southern species during warming events), the characteristics of the dominant krill species Euphausia pacifica, and the intensity of harmful algal blooms. Importantly, the length and continuity of our observations now allow us to develop ocean-indicators for the performance of regional salmon stocks, including Klamath River Fall Run Chinook, a linchpin species for management of the coastwide salmon fishery, and have set the stage for developing augmented observation systems to assess the effects of wind energy development on the ecosystems of coastal waters off northern California.

Helena Frazao, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Ocean Acidification in the Southern California Current System: insights into 17 Years of Continuous Observations

Abstract >>

Ocean Acidification (OA) and its impacts on the (Southern) California Current (SCC) system have been under investigation for many years. However, most studies have primarily relied on discrete sampling and modelling efforts over the years. Here, we present the results of continuous measurements obtained from three moorings in the SCC - CCE1, CCE2, and Del Mar - between 2006 and 2022. These moorings offer an excellent opportunity to study OA in three distinct environments within the SCC: open ocean (CCE1), upwelling on the continental shelf (CCE2), and coastal upwelling (Del Mar) across multiple timescales. Inorganic Carbon parameters (pCO2, Ωaragonite saturation state, Dissolved Inorganic Carbon, Total Alkalinity and pH), and physical (temperature, salinity and currents) and biogeochemical (chlorophyll fluorescence, nitrate concentration and dissolved oxygen) variables were measured both at the surface and sub-surface, specifically at the base of the mixed layer (CCE1 and CCE2) and close to the bottom (Del Mar). Additionally, we calculated surface air-sea CO2 fluxes at CCE1 and CCE2. We further assessed the seasonality and differences in drivers between these variables and the underlying oceanographic environment. Surface air-sea CO2 fluxes showed that CCE1 is a (slight) sink of atmospheric CO2, while CCE2 is a (slight) source of atmospheric CO2. The anomaly time series revealed striking signals on an inter-annual scale, and we showed that El Niño/La Niña and Marine Heat Waves impacted the carbonate system and the biogeochemical parameters differently in the open ocean and upwelling environments.

Andrew Leising, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

From Observations to Management: Lessons Learned From The CCIEA ESR

Abstract >>

For the past 12 years, the CCIEA (California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment) team has produced an annual ecosystem status report (ESR) primarily for use by the PFMC (Pacific Fisheries Management Council), but accessible to other interested stakeholders. This report is ~20 pages (with an additional ~100 pages of appendices), and includes contributions from > 90 individuals from across 23 different institutions/agencies, and in many ways is similar to the older versions of the CalCOFI State of the California Current Report. The majority of the data comes from observations, with a small amount of modeled data as well, along with human dimensions data some of which comes from surveys. Combining all this disparate data into a cohesive “story” for management “ingestion” is a challenge, especially in finding the balance between detail and “digestibility”. Here we will discuss the lessons learned from this exercise, including (but not limited to) our logistical production methodology (a recent switch to Rmarkdown), our process for data intake and inclusion, and ultimately our interface with management. Additional examples of where (and why) we’ve had our most successful engagements will be explored specifically in terms of translating observational data into analyses and presentations that most resonated with management.

Taylor Wirth, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Advancing pH Monitoring: Self-Calibrating SeapHOx Enhances Reliability and Accessibility of pH Measurements

Abstract >>

In the coastal regions of California, a network of stations is currently delivering real-time pH measurements. The reliability and accuracy of these live measurements are of paramount importance, particularly concerning stakeholders and developers of real-time data products. However, ensuring the accuracy of pH sensors in near real-time necessitates repeated and tedious field validation, a process often limited by factors such as deployment location and resources available to the local operator. To address these limitations, here we share findings from a two-year deployment of the Self-Calibrating SeapHOx (SCS) on the Scripps Automated Shore Station. The SCS autonomously records calibration measurements from an equimolar tris buffer reference standard during deployment, resulting in improved reproducibility (<0.005) compared to conventional bottle samples (0.02) without requiring personnel to collect field samples. The SCS design automates many aspects of the quality control process, ensuring the availability of high-quality data in near real-time. The advantages of the SCS for shore station programs offer a pathway to improved data reliability and accessibility. We envision the potential expansion of the SCS framework to additional monitoring stations, further enhancing the efficacy and impact of coastal monitoring initiatives.

Katherine Barbeau, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research Project's Ecosystem Controls and Multiple Stressors in a Coastal Upwelling System

Abstract >>

The California Current Ecosystem (CCE) Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site is part of the larger LTER Network, founded in 1980 by the National Science Foundation with the recognition that long-term field research could help unravel the principles and processes of ecological science, which frequently involve long-lived species, legacy influences, and rare events. A primary goal of the LTER Network is to understand a diverse array of ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. CCE LTER represents the most pelagic marine-oriented site in the LTER Network, leveraging the 75-year California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) ocean time series which has demonstrated physical forcing on multiple spatiotemporal scales with concomitant impacts on ocean biota. A core principle of CCE science is that intensive process-oriented experimental studies can be synthesized with modeling approaches to quantify functional relationships within the system, which can then be related to longer-term in situ and remotely sensed time-series measurements. These time-series measurements in turn serve as validation tools for improving models and for extrapolating the results of experimental studies and conducting retrospective analyses into past changes in the system. This presentation will highlight ongoing research in CCE LTER, which during this grant cycle focuses on marine heatwaves, ecological stoichiometry, and top-down pressure in a coastal upwelling biome.

Yui Takeshita, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

pH Sensors on Underwater Gliders in the California Current System

Abstract >>

Sustained, high spatial resolution, subsurface pH data is important to assess the current and future impacts of ocean acidification within the California Current System. Underwater gliders provide a valuable platform to obtain such sustained data, and a network of Spray gliders have operated along our coast since ~2007 as part of the California Underwater Glider Network (CUGN). However, pH sensors have not been available for Spray gliders to be utilized for this observing network. Over the past 5 years, two Spray gliders equipped with Deep-Sea-DuraFET pH sensors have been operated at MBARI for >700 glider days, with an accuracy of 0.003 ± 0.011, and a precision of 0.002. The measured pH from the glider can be combined with empirically estimated total alkalinity (TA) to calculate other carbonate parameters such as pCO2 (± 2.5%), aragonite saturation state Ω (± 0.02 near saturation), and DIC (± 7.5 μmol kg-1). Missions were conducted near Monterey Bay in Central California, and data are made publicly available through CeNCOOS. To extend this pH sensing technology to the CUGN, two recent developments are taking place. First, the Spray2, a next generation underwater glider with sufficient payload capabilities for additional biogeochemical sensors, is being developed by the Instrument Development Group at Scripps. Second, a modular pH sensor ‘NanoFET’ that utilizes the Deep-Sea-DuraFET has been developed at MBARI. The first prototype NanoFET has nearly completed integration into the Spray2, and a test mission with the pH sensor is scheduled soon. If available, field results from this test mission will be presented here.

Meredith Elliott, Point Blue Conservation Science

The Applied California Current Ecosystem Studies (ACCESS): 20 years of research and monitoring of the marine ecosystem in north-central California.

Abstract >>

The Applied California Current Ecosystem Studies (ACCESS) is a public/private partnership founded in 2004 that supports marine wildlife conservation and healthy marine ecosystems in north-central California by conducting ocean research to inform resource managers, policy makers, and conservation partners. We collect data on oceanography, low/mid-trophic levels, and top marine predators. Oceanography data includes water sample collections (surface and at depth for ocean acidification and nutrients monitoring) and CTD casts at predetermined stations, and continuous measurements (TSG). For low and mid-trophic levels, we collect phytoplankton with a net, zooplankton with hoop and Tucker trawls at predetermined stations, as well as continuous passive acoustic sampling for krill and fish detection. Data for top marine predators include bird and mammal observations through standardized strip and line transects. The main research topics and management issues we aim to address include: 1) reducing ship strikes, 2) reducing whale entanglements, 3) protecting wildlife hotspots, 4) developing ecosystem indicators, and 5) tracking ocean acidification. We produce an annual ‘Ocean Climate Indicators Report’ that provides information about the status and trends of physical and biological climate change indicators in the region. ACCESS data are available in the California Integrated Ocean Observing System (CalIOOS) Data Portal. ACCESS data informs about 20% of the indicators included in the Cordell Bank and the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries Condition Reports. ACCESS data has been used by graduate students associated with the California State University system and the University of California Davis. ACCESS data have been used in recent publications including an analysis of krill and baleen whale distributions in relation to submesoscale surface current features, incorporation of ocean acidification data into a U.S. West Coast dataset on ocean stressors, and an analysis on the impacts of warming and ocean acidification on pteropods.

Faycal Kessouri, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project /University of California Los Angeles

Quantifying Uncertainty in Ocean Model Predictions of Eutrophication

Abstract >>

Global change leads to warming, acidification, and hypoxia (OAH) in the ocean. In the Southern California Bight, an ocean numerical model has been used to predict that these stressors are exacerbated by the discharge of anthropogenically enhanced nutrients from a coastal population of 20 million people. Managing these nutrients could cost billions, and thus the question of whether or how model uncertainty can be quantified is a key scientific question that is important in improving scientific consensus and management confidence in these applications. Here, we use a 20-year hindcast from an unprecedented 3D coupled submesoscale biogeochemical model, in combination with observational monitoring programs to examine and attempt to quantify uncertainty in our predictions of temperature, algal productivity, oxygen and pH. Model performance assessment, using CalCOFI, Bight regional monitoring programs, West Coast Acidification campaigns, remote sensing data, and many other observational programs was performed over a period of 20 years to evaluate seasonal, and multi-annual variabilities in the surface and interior of the ocean. Absolute data-model differences and submesoscale intrinsic variability that arises from stochastic ocean processes are two readily quantifiable sources of uncertainty. We compared how the predicted magnitude of O2 loss from human nutrient sources compared with two quantifiable sources of model uncertainty: 1) differences between observations and model predictions and 2) intrinsic variability that arises from stochastic ocean processes, in order to answer the question "does the modeled signal of anthropogenic change emerge from the noise of quantifiable sources of model uncertainty?" This talk will focus on the approach and high-level findings of the 20-year performance assessment and the model uncertainty assessment, then provide a prospective view of other efforts to improve model confidence.

2:30 PM

PANEL: California Current System Dynamics Knowledge to Action Pipeline 
Aviary Ballroom

PANEL: Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, Harmful Algal Bloom, and Water Quality Knowledge to Action Pipeline

Moderator: Liz Whiteman, Ocean Science Trust

Moderator: Steve Weisberg, Southern California Coastal Water Research Projec

Captain Kip Loutitt, Maine Exchange of Southern California

Jennifer Brown, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Bruce Steele and Dick Ogg, Fisherman

Corey Niles, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife/Pacific Fishery Management Council

Terry Sawyer, Hog Island Oyster Company

Laura Terriquez, Orange County Sanitation District

Mark Gold, Natural Resources Defense Council

Alissa Deming, Pacific Marine Mammal Center

3:30 PM


4:00 PM

POSTERS & BOOTHS - with light refreshments  
Kon Tiki Ballroom

Click here to preview the list of posters. Prepare for a great evening of over 70 posters showcased, tables, and sponsor booths

6:00 PM

ADJOURN - dinner on your own 


8:30 AM

GATHER - coffee and tea 

9:00 AM

WELCOME: Erin Satterthwaite, CalCOFI & California Sea Grant, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

9:05 AM

KEYNOTE: Margaret Leinen, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego

9:15 AM

PLENARY: State of California Ocean Observing Systems 

Clarissa Anderson, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System/Scripps Institution of Oceanography  

Henry Ruhl, Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

9:45 AM

PLENARY: State of California Fisheries 

Julia Coates, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and

Allison Dedrick, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

10:15 AM

BREAK - coffee and tea 

10:40 PM

SESSION 4: Fisheries, Ecosystem Assessments, and Sustainable Marine Resource Management 
Aviary Ballroom

SESSION 5: Coastal Resilience

Facilitator: Andrew Thompson, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center 

Facilitator: Megan Medina, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System/Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Elliott Hazen, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center 

From Scales to Whales: A Case Study of Ecological Models for Use in Management

Abstract >>

We have developed a skillful suite of prediction systems at multiple timescales for use in assessing weather, storm tracks, and long-term change to maximize human safety and minimize storm repair costs. Here we propose a similar framework for the ocean, from physics to fisheries to help maximize sustainable fisheries while minimizing impact on protected species from sharks, turtles, seabirds to marine mammals. The different timescales of prediction carry different skills and different management applications including nowcasts on where species are most likely distributed, forecasts of indices such as habitat compression and temperature thresholds to reduce and avoid entanglements, and projections of species distribution for use in long term planning (e.g. sanctuaries and wind energy planning). This suite of prediction scales can be used to create a holistic approach towards marine resource management, with the goal of reducing risk and rewarding opportunity in the face of climate variability and change.

Mark Merrifield, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Considerations for Predicting Extreme Water Levels along the California Coast

Abstract >>

Coastal flooding occurs frequently along the California coast when the combination of tides, waves, and water levels exceeds critical thresholds. A framework for predicting water levels statewide is considered based on operational models and observations. Strategies for reducing uncertainties associated with wave runup, the largest contributor to prediction error, are described. Observations of extreme events are needed to assess and improve predictive skill.

Paige Hoel, University of California Los Angeles

The Blob, the Kelp, and Us

Abstract >>

The 2014-2016 marine heat wave (MHW) caused a mass mortality event for giant kelp canopies in the Southern California Bight (SCB) due to low nutrients and high temperatures. Despite the uniformity of temperature increase, response of kelp was non uniform. Here we use a highly resolved physical biogeochemical model to identify kelp canopy regions with high occurrences of nutrient limitation as well as those which experience beneficial levels of nutrients from anthropogenic sources such as wastewater outfalls and rivers. We then examine the results in the context of MPA’s in Southern California, merging in situ observations, remote sensing, and physical biogeochemical modeling.

Laura Engeman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Community - Academic Collaborations To Improve Coastal Resilience

Abstract >>

Collapsible content...

Mark Morales, University of California Santa Cruz
Biophysical Drivers of Recruitment Dynamics Associated with Historical ENSO Events in the California Current

Abstract >>

Mechanistic models grounded in first principles (i.e., physiology) when coupled to ocean circulation models are useful to retrospectively test recruitment hypotheses. Here, a coupled biophysical individual-based model for Shortbelly rockfish (Sebastes jordani), a non-commercial, yet ecologically important species of the California Current System, is used to evaluate the relative influence of starvation mortality and advective losses on recruitment across historical El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. Leveraging biological data from a fisheries-independent survey along with model output, we show that starvation had a larger effect on modeled recruitment than did retention during El Niño events and both starvation and modeled recruitment explain the timing and magnitude of observed recruitment. In contrast, retention over the continental shelf had a larger effect on modeled recruitment during La Niña events and while retention alone could not explain the timing of observed recruitment, modeled recruitment was positively associated with observed recruitment for one of the two La Niña years and when both La Niña events were combined. The preponderance of recruitment variability being differentially driven by food web-dependent and transport-dependent processes amongst a backdrop of contrasting environmental conditions (ENSO events) emphasizes the importance of context-dependency when studying mechanisms of recruitment variability.

Dave Martin, City of Santa Cruz

Quantifying Potential Pollutant Discharge in the Near Shore Central Coast

Abstract >>

The City of Santa Cruz operates a secondary wastewater discharge facility along the Central Coast. The Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) began discharging through a new outfall and diffuser in 1988. The outfall length of 12,250’ terminates with the diffuser, 2,100’ long and 72” in diameter, at 110’ below sea level. Initial dilution is 114:1 by design. The Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 is suspected to have caused a separation in the outfall, detected at the 70’ contour, 1.3 miles along the outfall from shore. Direct observation of a secondary plume, leaking from this separation, is challenged by the water depth, overlaying sediment and rip-rap. This, in spite of several efforts by divers as well as annual aerial overflight with coordinated dye injections as part of NPDES permit requirements. Plans for expanded effluent recycling and the resulting brine discharge has led the RWQCB to order more regular and quantitative assessment of the magnitude of this leak. City Environmental Compliance staff, in coordination with experts from CeNCOOS, MBARI, and UCSC adopted use of rhodamine dye, metered to the WWTF effluent and detected in the ocean environment with manual boat-operated field equipment, utilizing a drop camera (Deep Trekker, DTPod) with fluorimeters (Turner Designs, Cyclops 7F) mounted at intervals along the tether. Two small-crafts, 16- and 24-feet long, simultaneously monitor rhodamine concentrations in plumes from the leak as well as at the diffuser. The monitoring areas are a few hundred feet centered about each location, while the duration of monitoring spans about 2 to 3 hours. Data are organized and displayed using Python programming language. Observations indicate equivalent concentrations of rhodamine within the plumes at locations about the leak and diffuser.

Dan Costa, University of California Santa Cruz

Response of Upper Trophic Levels in Response to the Changes in the North Pacific and California Current

Abstract >>

Ocean models can predict how the California Current and North Pacific Ocean will change. However, the response of upper trophic levels is still debated and requires ongoing measurements of their behavior and distribution as their habitat changes. Preliminary observations suggest a northward shift with some species, like California sea lions, breeding on islands that had previously been only used as haul-out sites. With support from CENCOOS, we have been monitoring the movement and foraging behavior of northern elephant seals since 2004 and have recently restarted observations of California sea lion foraging behavior in Central California. An advantage of deploying electronic tags on seals is that they can also provide repeat measurements of the physical environment (chlorophyll, salinity, oxygen, temperature, and contaminant distribution). For example, elephant seals foraging in the Gulf of Alaska have lower tissue mercury levels than individuals foraging along the North Pacific Transition Zone. Further, deeper-diving individuals have higher mercury loads than shallower-diving individuals. We will review our ongoing measurements of upper trophic level predators in the California Current and Eastern North Pacific Ocean.

Rob Bochenek, Axiom Data Science, A Tetra Tech Company  

Cyberinfrastructure's Role in California Ocean Observing

Chris Lowe, California State University Long Beach

Monitoring White Sharks for Public Safety

Abstract >>

The increase in the white shark population in the Northeast Pacific and the juvenile use of coastal waters has increased concern over public safety. The CA Shark Beach Safety Program was started in 2018 with a research, education and outreach arm. Research has focused on understanding and predicting juvenile white sharks use of beach habitats and sharks were tagged with acoustic and satellite transmitters to monitor movements. Monitoring has helped determine how environmental conditions influence season migration and how prey densities alter aggregation densities and fidelity. Realtime acoustic monitoring and drone monitoring has improved lifeguard beach safety management. Environmental and white shark monitoring data are served via ERDDAP server and shared via SCCOOS for public access.

12:00 PM


South Lawn
Thai Chicken Wtaps or Vegetarian Wrap Boxed Lunch, includes Pasta Salad, Kettle Chips, Cookie, Whole Fruit, and Soft Drink or Bottled Water

Final chance to look at posters. The posters must be taken down by 1:00 PM 

1:00 PM

SESSION 6: Fisheries, Ecosystem Assessments, and Sustainable Marine Resource Management 

Aviary Ballroom

SESSION 7: Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, Harmful Algal Bloom, and Water Quality

Facilitator: Rasmus Swalethorp, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Facilitator: Clarissa Anderson, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System/Scripps Institution of Oceanography  

Francisco Chavez, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Observing Life in the Central California Current Using Environmental DNA

Abstract >>

With funding from the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) program (NASA and NOAA), MBARI and CeNCOOS collaborate with ongoing routine ecosystem observation programs and augment them with sampling for environmental DNA (eDNA). This effort that began in 2014, with augmentation of MBARI ship time series and autonomous vehicle programs, has since been expanded to include the Rockfish Recruitment and Ecosystem Analysis Surveys (RREAS), the Applied California Current Ecosystem Studies (ACCESS), the Trinidad Head Line (THL), PISCO Marine Protected Area kelp forest monitoring, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) surveys. This presentation summarizes the sampling effort to date presents a few selected examples of results to date. It emphasizes the added value that eDNA information provides to the understanding of the biodiversity in the CCC and how it varies over space and time.

Drew Lucas, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Dinoflagellate Vertical Migration Fuels an Intense Red Tide

Abstract >>

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are increasing globally, causing economic, human health, and ecosystem harm. In spite of the frequent occurrence of HABs, the mechanisms responsible for their exceptionally high biomass remain imperfectly understood. A 50-y-old hypothesis posits that some dense blooms derive from dinoflagellate motility: organisms swim upward during the day to photosynthesize and downward at night to access deep nutrients. This allows dinoflagellates to outgrow their nonmotile competitors. We tested this hypothesis with in situ data from an autonomous, ocean-wave-powered vertical profiling system. We showed that the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra’s vertical migration led to depletion of deep nitrate during a 2020 red tide HAB event. Downward migration began at dusk, with the maximum migration depth determined by local nitrate concentrations. Losses of nitrate at depth were balanced by proportional increases in phytoplankton chlorophyll concentrations and suspended particle load, conclusively linking vertical migration to the access and assimilation of deep nitrate in the ocean environment. Vertical migration during the red tide created anomalous biogeochemical conditions compared to 70 y of climatological data, demonstrating the capacity of these events to temporarily reshape the coastal ocean’s ecosystem and biogeochemistry. Advances in the understanding of the physiological, behavioral, and metabolic dynamics of HAB-forming organisms from cutting-edge observational techniques will improve our ability to forecast HABs and mitigate their consequences in the future.

Benjamin Ruttenberg, Cal Poly State University

MPAs, Fishing, and Ocean Climate: Exploring MPA Impacts on Fish Community Responses to Climate Perturbations in California using Collaborative Fisheries Research

Abstract >>

The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) is a collaborative science program that works with volunteer anglers and standardized hook-and-line, catch-and-release fishing surveys to monitor recreationally-targeted fishery species inside and outside of marine protected areas (MPAs) across California. The ongoing program has 17 years of data from Central California and 7 years of data statewide, allowing us to evaluate not only fish community responses to MPA protection, but also a range of other factors that may affect fish communities. We assessed changes in abundance, size structure, and biomass for fishes inside and outside MPAs over time. We found that MPAs generally have positive effects on a range of fish community response metrics, and we identified other of MPA attributes (e.g., MPA size, age) that impact the strength of those responses. Furthermore, we explored the 17-year time series from the Central Coast to examine how MPAs influenced fish community responses to and recovery from the 2014-2016 Marine Heat Wave (MHW) event and more broadly how oceanographic variation may impact fish populations. We found that abundance and community structure changed dramatically during the MHW event similarly inside and outside of MPAs. However, fish diversity recovered much more quickly inside MPAs, suggesting that MPA protection may improve resilience to disturbance. In addition, we found that abundance of some smaller, lower-trophic level rockfishes was strongly correlated with oceanographic variation, but that abundance of other higher trophic level rockfishes was less strongly related to oceanographic variation. Finally, we also found evidence of fishing-the-line behavior and edge effects, which may moderate the strength of MPA responses, especially in smaller MPAs. These findings emphasize the value of long-term collaborative datasets such as CCFRP in addressing a wide range of questions that can improve management of fisheries as they adapt to changes in climate and fisher activities.

Marco Sandoval Belmar, University of California Los Angeles

Mysteries of Domoic Acid: Unraveling Regional Patterns of Pseudo-nitzschia Harmful Algal Blooms along the California Coast

Abstract >>

Pseudo-nitzschia species with the ability to produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA) constitute a major harmful algal bloom (HAB) threat along the U.S. West Coast, with important impacts on ecosystems, fisheries, and human health. By compiling nearly two decades of data, we identify key environmental drivers and regional differences in HAB occurrences. While upwelling, chlorophyll-a levels, and nutrient limitations are found to correlate with DA outbreaks coastwise, distinct responses are observed across three major DA hotspots: Monterey Bay, the Santa Barbara Channel, and the San Pedro Channel. In Monterey Bay, HAB frequency and intensity increase under relatively nutrient-poor conditions and low upwelling intensities, while in the Santa Barbara and San Pedro Channels, HABs are favored under cold, nitrogen-rich conditions and intense upwelling. These findings provide valuable insights into the ecological drivers of PN HABs, supporting the development of predictive capabilities for DA outbreaks along the California coast and beyond.

Zachary Gold, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory 

Archived DNA Reveals Marine Heatwave-associated Shifts in Fish and Zooplankton Assemblages

Abstract >>

Marine heatwaves can drive large-scale shifts in marine ecosystems, but studying their impacts on comprehensive assemblages across multiple trophic levels is difficult. In this study, we paired microscopy with environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding of the ethanol preservative of the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) ichthyoplankton biorepository spanning a 23-year time series. This biorepository captures major and sometimes unexpected changes to fish and zooplankton assemblages in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem during and after the 2014–2016 Pacific Marine Heatwave. Using both data sources, we modeled patterns of tropicalization in the California Current, with increases in southern, mesopelagic species and associated declines in commercially important temperate fish species (e.g., North Pacific Hake and Pacific Sardine). Our results show shifts in fisheries assemblages (e.g., Northern Anchovy) even after the return to average water temperatures, corroborating ecosystem impacts found through multiple traditional surveys of this study area. We further provide novel insights into both larval Rockfish (Sebastes sp.) assemblages that largely lack the distinctive morphological characteristics necessary for species level identification. Likewise, we successfully characterized hundreds of large zooplankton (>505µm) species from CalCOFI preserved samples, allowing for the identification and characterization of key fisheries target larvae, imperiled species (sea stars), and key foundational zooplankton taxa (e.g. copepods, krill) within the longest running paired biological and carbonate chemistry time series. This pilot data directly informs a burgeoning research effort to produce a nearly three-decade long climate-grade zooplankton time series to fill a critical missing component of zooplankton biomonitoring in the CCLME. This work will provide NOAA and the state of California the data needed to track changes in foundational prey bases and the development of a framework for an early warning eDNA warming, ocean acidification, and hypoxia assessments.

Kasia Kenitz, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

An Early Warning System for Harmful Algal Bloom Events in California

Abstract >>

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Trevor Ruiz, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Using Environmental DNA to Identify Ecological Indicators Associated with Marine Mammal Abundances: An Example of Student-Centered Collaborative Research at the Intersection of Marine Science and Data Science

Abstract >>

Marine ecosystem and oceanographic datasets are information-rich with respect to physical and biological patterns at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Such data can serve as a basis for generating research investigations that exhibit both scientific or management value and novelty from a data science perspective. This creates opportunities for collaborations with strong potential to produce contributions in multiple areas. In this talk we discuss student-centered approaches to developing marine science/data science collaborations through partnerships with data science capstone programs and degree programs in statistics. We focus on a current project leveraging genetic metabarcoding data and marine mammal sightings collected from CalCOFI cruises to identify potential indicators of common whale species from among relative abundances of microorganisms after adjusting for seasonal trends and the influence of physical variables. Initial results, methodological novelties of the analysis, and student involvement and contributions are discussed. Past projects are also briefly mentioned, including data-centric communication- and outreach-oriented work developing interactive data applets and data storytelling tools, along with reflections on how such opportunities contributed to student outcomes.

Jayme Smith, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project

Moving Toward Prediction of Domoic Acid Related Stranding Events of California Sea Lions in Southern California

Abstract >>

Domoic acid producing blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia are a pervasive harmful algal bloom (HAB) issue along the California coastline. Domoic acid accumulates via trophic transfer into marine food webs, threatening human and ecosystem health. These events are often associated with mass stranding and mortality of marine mammals. Acute domoic acid exposure is readily identifiable in California sea lions (Zalophus californiaus), making them ideal sentinels of domoic acid producing blooms. California sea lion stranding rates are also monitored and recorded by California Marine Mammal Stranding Network centers enabling historical analysis of domoic acid impacts on this species. Therefore, we used statistical time series modeling approaches with HAB monitoring data from four pier sites in southern California and stranding case records from the Pacific Marine Mammal Center to identify the domoic acid concentrations and pier monitoring locations that are most associated with elevated risks of sea lion stranding events. Notably, we found that increased sea lion strandings were often observed just prior to an increase in particulate domoic acid at the piers, limiting the predictive capabilities of nearshore monitoring observations for marine mammal stranding events. We then evaluated current ecosystem modeling platforms to determine if modeled outputs that include more offshore observations could enhance predictive capabilities for stranding events. Understanding the relationships between HAB monitoring data, ecosystem modeling predictions, and sea lion strandings could better quantify the degree to which domoic acid causes negative ecosystem impacts. This work also can help move towards prediction of domoic acid related marine mammal stranding events.

Chelsea Bowers-Doerning, California State University Fullerton

Ingestion and Assimilation of Microplastics by Pacific Sardines (Sardinops Sagax), within the Southern California Bight

Abstract >>

Microplastics (MPs; 20 µm to 5 mm in diameter) are ubiquitous pollutants in marine environments. A major source of MPs is anthropogenic, plastic-littered effluent draining into coastal waters worldwide including here in southern California. The Southern California Bight (SCB) is inhabited by subpopulations of Pacific sardines, Sardinops sagax, a commercially and ecologically important fish. Pacific sardines filter-feed on zooplankton whose body size falls within the same size range as marine MPs and therefore are vulnerable to ingestion. The goals of this study were to: 1) determine whether sardines were ingesting MPs and if so, 2) determine whether the ingested MPs were then assimilated into body tissues. MPs were chemically extracted from 30 sardine stomachs, livers, and axial muscle tissues. We used fluorescent microscopy combined with Nile Red staining to quantify and measure the Feret’s diameter of extracted MPs using MP-VAT software. We found that the average (± SD) micro-particle size of ingested MPs was 183 ± 428 ìm, whereas assimilated MPs in the muscle tissue were 31 ± 10 ìm and 325 ± 439 ìm in the liver. Muscle filets had an average (± SD) MP weight (mg) per muscle tissue wet weight (g) of 13.2 ± 4.77 mg g-1, 44 times higher than other Sardinops sp. measured. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy analyses showed that the dominant MPs in muscle tissues were polytetrafluoroethylene (fishing line), low-density polyethylene (LDPE; plastics bags), rayon (R; clothing), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC; irrigation pipe). This study demonstrates that wild-caught S. sagax from the SCB do regularly ingest and assimilate microplastics into muscle and liver tissues. The research offers empirical evidence of microplastic ingestion by S. sagax along the Southern California coast, revealing elevated levels of MP contamination compared to similar studies.

Ana Filipa Vieira, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada 

Market Squid: A Potential Domoic Acid Exposure Vector for the California Sea Lion

Abstract >>

Toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp. diatom blooms capable of producing the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA) are increasing in severity and frequency along the California coast, inducing DA-related toxicity in and mass mortality/stranding events of California Sea Lions (CSL; Zalophus californianus). This study examined 10 of 21 dead CSLs that stranded over a narrow geographic region and timeframe (February and March 2022) in Orange County, California Postmortem examination, stomach content analyses, and limited histologic evaluation due to moderate stage of decomposition were performed. DA concentrations were quantified in CSL feces, gastric juice, and consumed main prey (market squid) to track DA accumulation. Morphometrics were conducted on recovered squid remnants. Carbon (δ13C) and Nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope analysis were quantified in bulk tissue and amino acids in CSL (n=10) and prey tissues (n=142) to infer foraging strategy and trophic position. Standard ellipse areas (SEA) were estimated to evaluate isotopic feeding niches. Necropsy observations suggest overall robust health status in most CSLs based on general body condition and prey-filled stomachs, however, myocardial damage was observed in a subset of animals. Most likely cause of death was suspected to be domoic acid intoxication or peracute underwater entrapment in squid fishery. Market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) almost exclusively comprised the CSL stomach contents and were of similar size range (mean mantle length= 10.54 cm), representing an average of 2.53% (± 1.5) total CSL body weight (wet weight). Higher DA concentrations measured in feces in comparison to gastric juice (mean=153.82 ng/mL; 19.17 ng/mL) or Market Squid samples (mean=23 ng/mL), suggest that DA was initially present in the CSL stomachs, likely from consuming DA-contaminated prey. SEAs imply that CSLs practice specialist feeding behaviors, consuming market squid from the same overall geographic area (indicated by δ13C), but from possibly different trophic positions (indicated by δ15N).

2:20 PM


2:30 PM

PANEL: Building a More Diverse And Equitable Observing System
Aviary Ballroom

Moderator: John Hansen, West Coast Ocean Alliance

Dijanna Figueroa, Bridge Builders LA

Theresa Talley, California Sea Grant, California Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program

Rocio Lozano-Knowlton, MERITO Foundation

Stanley Rodriguez, Kumeyaay Community College

3:30 PM

BREAK: 1.5-hour networking break to explore with old and new colleagues 

5:00 - 8:30 PM

North Lawn

5:00 - 6:30 PM: Music, Trivia, Drinks, and Food Stations (Hibachi, Tropical, & Taste of Orient) 
6:00 - 6:30 PM: Speakers
George Watters, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Julie Thomas, Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System and Coastal Data Information Program (retired)
Francisco Chavez, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
7:00 - 8:30 PM: Hors d'Oeuvres and Drinks

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024

8:30 AM

GATHER - coffee and tea 

9:00 AM

SESSION 8: Ocean Solutions and the Blue Economy
Aviary Ballroom

SESSION 9: California Current System Dynamics

Rousseau Center

Facilitator: Erin Satterthwaite, CalCOFI/California Sea Grant/Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Facilitator: Ed Weber, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Don Kent, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute

The Role of Ocean Observing in Developing Marine Aquaculture

Abstract >>

Several factors make domestic development of marine farming critical: 1) The world population is growing to 10 billion in 25 years, 2) The US imports over $19 billion in seafood annually of which at least 50% is farmed, and 3) Traditional terrestrial farming of animal protein is a major contributor of climate change. The productivity of US seafood resources must be expanded to meet increasing domestic demand and to offset the growing seafood trade deficit. The greatest opportunity to realize this needed production is to use the open ocean where conflicts with other users are minimized, water quality is high and the impacts of operations to the environment can be mitigated. The FAO has surveyed the globe and has reported that the US has the greatest abundance of areas that meet the three primary criteria for marine farming development: workable proximity to commercial ports, appropriate depth and proper current flow. However, any development in US waters requires a rigorous regulatory review. Specific permits are required from the Army Corps of Engineers and from the Environmental Protection Agency, and farming operations have to be conducted under existing USDA and FDA authorities for the production of food. Development of these permits is subject to environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act through consultation with all federal and state agencies responsible for management of natural resources. Marine Spatial Planning can provide some of the information needed to assess and mitigate some potential impacts, but oceanographic information (temperature, primary productivity, current speed and direction) is needed to develop a wide range of answers to questions regarding systems engineering, biological performance and economic viability. The Ocean Observing system can provide the information needed to minimize environmental impacts and maximize economic viability needed to provide a new domestic source sustainably grown seafood.

Arina Favilla, University of California, Santa Cruz and National Institute of Polar Research

Leveraging Animal Collaborations to Obtain More Fine-Scale Dissolved Oxygen Measurements in the Eastern North Pacific

Abstract >>

Among the most concerning changes occurring in our oceans today is ocean deoxygenation, with models estimating 2-7% oxygen loss by 2100. Oxygen minimum zones (OMZ), where oxygen concentrations are <0.7 mg/L, occur naturally in the deep ocean due to physical and biogeochemical processes. However, continued ocean deoxygenation is causing expansion and shoaling of these zones, with yet poorly understood ecosystem consequences. To enhance our ability to predict the magnitude and effects of ocean deoxygenation, we must continuously monitor changes in ocean oxygen occurring today. A recent call to action for more Argo floats with O2 sensors highlighted the deficit in dissolved oxygen (DO) data available. As an alternative response, we are deploying newly developed animal-borne DO loggers (Little Leonardo Ltd.) on northern elephant seals to obtain high resolution profiles (every 10 or 60 s) across the Northeast Pacific, a region projected to have high deoxygenation rates. By deploying O2 sensors on a deep-diving species that remains at-sea for months, we obtained a total of 5186 profiles from 10 seals covering 5812 km in 2022-2023. We found substantial variability in DO profiles across the Northeast Pacific, with seals reaching the OMZ on average in 76.0% and 41.8% of daytime and nighttime dives, respectively, in the California Current, compared to <35% elsewhere. To demonstrate the importance of fine scale measurements, we showcase a series of DO profiles recorded as a seal traversed over the Mendocino Ridge, where upwelling of low DO water shoaled the OMZ by ~200 m. These measurements have the potential to elucidate the extent of DO variability at fine spatiotemporal scales, add another essential ocean variable contributed by pinnipeds to the World Ocean Database (see APBTs), and provide additional O2 data inputs for biogeochemical models used for mapping and predicting global ocean oxygen trends.

Kakani Katija, Ocean Visions AI
Ocean Vision AI: Accelerating the analysis of ocean visual data using artificial intelligence and broad community engagement

Jerome Guiet, University of California Los Angeles

Fish From Space: Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Mid-Trophic Levels Revealed by Remote Sensing and In-Situ Acoustic Data Fusion

Abstract >>

Mid-trophic level (MTL) organisms link lower trophic levels and large predators. They impact the ocean's biological pump, as well as the fisheries that exploit them or their predators. However, their distribution and variability are poorly resolved, particularly in highly dynamic regions such as the California Current Ecosystem (CCE). This lack of understanding arises from the complex interaction of MTLs with their environment and the difficulty of sampling these organisms on broad scales. To close this gap, we have built a machine-learning model of MTL that connects 10 years of local observations of acoustic backscatter, a proxy of MTL abundance, in the upper ocean (15 to 215m depth) with regional environmental predictors. These predictors include data from remote sensing (MEaSUREs, MODIS), reanalysis (ERA, SODA), and climatology (WOA) products. Our model reconstructs the regional variability of MTLs with high accuracy (correlation with observations of ~R2=0.80, out of bag). Our reconstruction shows a consistent seasonal dynamic in the CCE, with coastal pulses of backscatter that begin near the coast, spread offshore, and reach a minimum in winter, and a seasonal northward shift of backscatter that follows upwelling. The correlation of the seasonal to interannual variability of MTLs' reconstructions with climate modes indicates regional differences in the dominant environmental drivers. Understanding the sensitivities of MTL communities across these timescales will provide insights into longer-term variability, including the response to anthropogenic climate change.

Helen Killeen, Farallon Institute

The Winds Of Change: Using CalCOFI Data To Predict Seasonal Shifts In Seabird Community Relationships with Planned Offshore Wind Development

Abstract >>

In the near future, California’s marine ecosystems will be impacted by the construction, operation, and maintenance of offshore wind energy infrastructure. Offshore wind activities will affect marine organisms both directly (e.g. turbine collisions with flying organisms, habitat disturbance) and indirectly (e.g., via upwelling attenuation, prey aggregation, or other food web effects). Impacts of offshore wind development on California’s marine ecosystems are likely to vary throughout the year, as seasonal productivity-generating processes strongly influence the distribution and behavior of resident and transient species throughout the region. Seabirds are a particularly useful sentinel species for highlighting seasonal variability in productivity, as they are highly conspicuous at sea and shifts in their community composition and distributions reflect immediate changes in the environment. While much work has already been done on the potential interactions between offshore wind energy development and seabirds in the California Current, we lack a clear understanding of how interactions may vary seasonally and the resulting impacts on seabird populations. Fortunately, the Farallon Institute has curated at-sea seabird survey data in southern and central California covering three seasons from 1987 to 2023 aboard CalCOFI cruises. Here, we build upon previous work to map direct risks to seabirds from wind energy infrastructure within CA by using joint dynamic species distribution models (e.g. VAST) to map seasonal seabird distributions throughout the CalCOFI area, including in the planned Morro Bay wind energy area. Seasonal maps are employed to highlight how the likelihood and type of exposure risk changes across the year for California’s nearshore and offshore seabird communities.

Mark Ohman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

A Multi-Scale Perspective on Zooplankton Dynamics of the CCE: from Zooglider to 7-1/2 Decades Of CalCOFI

Abstract >>

The zooplankton of the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) are a highly diverse assemblage of multicellular and unicellular organisms that span at least 3 trophic levels, > 20 phyla, and > 5 orders of magnitude variation in body size. They are key intermediaries in essentially all pelagic food webs and are considered gatekeepers of the biological carbon pump. Here we will emphasize the role of zooplankton as sentinels of climate change and climate variability in the CCE. Particularly when the life history of a given zooplankton taxon is closely related to the dominant time scale of environmental perturbation, they can be amplifiers of environmental forcing (the Linear Tracking Window hypothesis). Zooplankton dynamics are often most closely related to lifespan-integrated ocean forcing rather than to instantaneous events (the Double Integration hypothesis). A few key traits held in common among phylogenetically disparate organisms can sometimes explain the responses of diverse zooplankton taxa to ocean forcing (the Trait-based Approach). This presentation will draw on examples of these concepts from a spectrum of time and space scales and analytical approaches in order to illustrate the insights that can be gained from the holozooplankton. This will include resolution of abrupt community structure changes at ocean fronts resolved by the autonomous underwater Zooglider; zooplankton DNA metabarcoding from CCE-LTER process cruises to develop Space-for-Time substitutions to make future ocean projections; body size- and light-dependent copepod Diel Vertical Migration responses; ocean eddy-related changes in pteropod susceptibility to ocean acidification; differentiation of different types of Marine Heat Waves from the CCE1 and CCE2 interdisciplinary moorings; and climate-scale sensitivities of zooplankton communities as revealed by CCE-LTER analyses of the CalCOFI zooplankton samples.

Kaustubha Raghukumar, Integral Consulting Inc.

Projected Cross-Shore Changes in Upwelling Induced by Wind Farm Development Along the California Coast

Abstract >>

In California offshore waters, sustained northwesterly winds have been identified as a key resource that can contribute substantially to renewable energy goals. However, the development of large-scale offshore wind farms can reduce the wind stress at the sea surface, which could affect wind-driven upwelling, nutrient delivery, and ecosystem dynamics. Here we examine changes to upwelling using atmospheric and ocean circulation numerical models together with a hypothetical upper bound buildout scenario of 877 turbines spread across three areas of interest. Wind speed changes are found to reduce upwelling on the inshore side of windfarms and increase upwelling on the offshore side. These changes, when expressed in terms of widely used metrics for upwelling volume transport and nutrient delivery, show that while the net upwelling in a wide coastal band changes relatively little, the spatial structure of upwelling within this coastal region can be shifted outside the bounds of natural variability. In the light of these projected changes from offshore wind farm development, a robust ocean observing system will be needed in and around wind energy areas to measure changes in atmospheric forcing, along with any potential ocean and ecosystem response. Here, data gaps in atmospheric and oceanic processes are addressed and ocean observing needs are outlined to establish baseline conditions and measure potential changes post-wind turbine installation.

Dan Robinette, Point Blue Conservation Science

The California Least Tern (Sternula Antillarum Browni) as an Indicator of Nearshore Habitat Health in the Southern California Current System

Abstract >>

The California least tern (Sternula antillarum browni) is an endangered colonial seabird that forages in nearshore habitats, typically staying close to shore to maximize provisioning rates to developing chicks. Annual reproductive success for southern California colonies has been consistently below the long-term state-wide average for the past 20 years, prompting concerns about prey availability in the Southern California Bight. During the same period, breeding productivity has been mostly above average for colonies found north of Point Conception. Here, we present long-term trends in least tern diet across ten sites in southern and central California and suggest the use of the California least tern as an indicator of nearshore habitat health within the southern California Current System. Across the California range, our results show that least tern diet is dominated by three important fish groups – Clupeiformes (e.g., anchovy and herring), young-of-the-year rockfish (Sebastes spp.), and silverside smelt (Atherinopsidae). However, the occurrence of fish larvae and overall species richness has increased in southern California diets, indicating that these colonies are depending more on alternative prey with lower caloric value in recent years. This is likely contributing to the low breeding productivity of least terns in southern California and is consistent with recent studies showing decreases in the abundance of multiple fish species in southern California over the past four decades. Additionally, least terns have been observed foraging >10km offshore in southern California in recent years, consistent with recent studies that have related long-term warming trends in the Southern California Bight to northerly and offshore shifts in aerobic habitat for species like the northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax). In the context of these recent studies, our results suggest that the California least tern is a good indicator of fish abundance in very nearshore habitats that are difficult to sample with vessel surveys.

Jay Staton, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Offshore Wind Potential Impacts to Fisheries and Spatial Planning Efforts

Michaela Alksne, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Big Whales and Big Data: Developing An Automated Approach for Detection and Classification of Baleen Whale Calls on CalCOFI Sonobuoy Recordings

Abstract >>

Baleen whales, including blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), produce low frequency calls associated with foraging and reproduction. Passive acoustic recordings of marine mammals have been collected onboard CalCOFI cruises since 2004. Sonobuoys deployed at CalCOFI sampling stations collect acoustic data containing numerous recordings of distinct whale calls; namely blue whale A, B and D calls, and fin whale 20 Hz and 40 Hz calls. Here, we describe an automated machine learning approach to detect and classify these calls. The training data for our model came from CalCOFI sonobuoys and high-frequency acoustic recording packages (HARPs) deployed in CalCOFI survey area. The model was trained with 4,935 calls (blue: 24% A, 22% B, 34% D, fin: 8% 20 Hz, 12% 40 Hz) from two HARP deployments and from six CalCOFI cruises spanning numerous sonobuoy deployments. We reserved data from the Fall 2015 CalCOFI cruise and one HARP deployment off the Channel Islands for testing (1233 calls; 5% A, 46 % D, 10% B, 12% 20 Hz, 27% 40 Hz). Mean average precision (mAP) across all categories was 0.76 on the testing data. This metric represents overall model performance. The model performed best on blue whale A, B, and D calls, with average precision scores ranging from 0.80 – 0.91. In contrast, fin whale calls proved to be more challenging, with average precision for 40 Hz and 20 Hz calls ranging from 0.51 – 0.68. We postulate that unequal distributions of high-quality examples in the training and testing datasets may be impacting the model’s performance on rare categories, namely the fin whale 20 Hz and 40 Hz calls. This work is the first step in a larger effort to leverage long-term CalCOFI passive acoustic monitoring data to study blue and fin whale distribution throughout the Southern California Bight.

10:20 AM

BREAK - coffee and tea 

10:40 AM

Open: Alex Harper, Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System/California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt

10:45 AM

PLENARY: Ocean Observations in Support of a Climate Ready Nation

Staci Lewis, Ocean Protection Council
Carl Gouldman
, NOAA, Integrated Ocean Observing System

11:15 AM

PANEL: Future Vision
Aviary Ballroom

Moderator: Noelle Bowlin, NOAA, Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Alice Kojima-Clarke, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 
Luke Gardner, California Sea Grant
Jack Barth, Oregon State University 

Michelle Fogarty, Equinor

12:20 PM

CLOSING REMARKS: Brice Semmens, CalCOFI/Scripps Institution of Oceanography

12:30 PM

ADJOURN - lunch on your own

Optional roundtables and side meetings

West Coast Ocean Biomolecular Observing Network Meeting - invite only

Hosted by: WC-OBON planning team -- Nastassia Patin, Zachary Gold, and Susanna Theroux.
Time: 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: Catamaran Resort Hotel - Aviary Ballroom split 
Type: Invite only, email Nastassia Patin ( if interested in attending

Leveraging Ocean Observing for Coastal Resilience in the San Diego - Baja California Binational Region - open
Hosted by: California Sea Grant and the Climate Science Alliance
Time: 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Catamaran Resort Hotel - Aviary Ballroom split 
Type of session: Open, Email Meliza Le Alvarado,, for more information.