North Central Coast MPA Monitoring
MARE is working with Cal State University Monterey Bay’s Institute for Applied Marine Ecology and The Nature Conservancy to conduct baseline monitoring in the deepwater portions of California’s North Central Coast marine protected areas (MPAs).
Established on May 1, 2010, these MPAs stretch from Pillar Point just north of Half Moon Bay all the way past San Francisco and up the Marin and Sonoma Coasts to Point Arena in Mendocino. They are part of a new statewide network of conservations areas that are being implemented under the State’s Marine Life Protection Act (1999).
Using The Nature Conservancy’s remotely operated vehicle Beagle, we are collecting videographic and still photographic imagery both inside the MPAs and in matched, non-MPA comparison sites. The data will enable scientists to characterize these ecosystems now, at the time of MPA closures, as well as quantify MPA effects over time, including changes in community structure inside and outside of the MPAs.
Our 2010 and 2011 data collection cruises were extraordinarily successful! Inside the MPAs, we saw canary and yelloweye rockfish—both threatened species—as well as huge aggregations of dungeness crab. Outside the protected areas, we saw large lingcod and other rockfish species.
Click here for a map of the North Central Coast monitoring sites.