News

September 06, 2018

Off the California coast, lies one of the fastest growing forests in the world. This underwater oasis stretches from Mexico to Canada and is the foundation for thousands of species that depend on it for their survival. Join us as we dive into the chilly waters of the Pacific to explore California’s giant kelp forest.  Lab PI Jenn Caselle explores local kelp forests with Wild Kingdom

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May 03, 2018

Jenn gave a talk at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab (SNARL) to the mountain communities of Mammoth Lakes, Bishop and environs.  Bringing a decade of experience traveling the worlds ocean, she highlights her work the National Geographic Pristine Seas program.

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April 02, 2018

Our latest research found that the predators, through their fecal material, transfer vital nutrients from their open ocean feeding grounds into shallower reef environments, contributing to the overall health of these fragile ecosystems. We looked at  the role of grey reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), a predatory species commonly associated with coral environments but whose wider ecological role has long been debated. Read more here:

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March 09, 2018

Hello California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) participants!

2017 was CCFRP's first year at many institutions, with groups from Humboldt State University, UC Davis, and UC San Diego getting out on the water for the first time. We are all excited to join Moss Landing Marine Labs and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in what is now a statewide monitoring program! Check out the CCFRP website (https://www.mlml.calstate.edu/ccfrp/) for information from other institutions regarding their field seasons.

As we move into our second sampling season, we would like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication, especially the Captain and Crew of the Stardust. Without your help, we would be unable to provide critical information for fisheries management and unable to contribute to the state's most extensive database on nearshore fisheries with respect to MPAs. We are extremely grateful for your support, and we hope you will continue to support us in the years to come.

Finally, please take a moment to "Like" both the Caselle Lab (https://www.facebook.com/CaselleLab/) and CCFRP (https://www.facebook.com/CaCollaborativeFisheriesResearchProgram.CCFRP/) on Facebook, as well as follow us on Instagram. We will continue to post new content and keep everyone updated via email as we prepare for our upcoming field season! We look forward to fishing with you again in 2018!

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April 11, 2017

Jenn Caselle, Director of the Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium speaks to Bren Master's students about coral reef resilience.

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March 16, 2017

A new study finds that humans can interact with sharks without long-term behavioral impacts for the ocean’s top predators.

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March 09, 2017

Former graduate student Darcy Bradley has published three chapters of her dissertation - all this month and all about sharks at Palmyra Atoll.  Check out the publications page and happy reading

February 28, 2017

Jenn Caselle and Katie Davis are just back from an expedition to the World's Most Remote island.  Tristan da Cunha is a group of islands in the South Atlantic, and also the name of the main island in that group. The archipelago lies over 2,700 km from South Africa and 3,700 km from the nearest shores of South America. This makes the Tristan archipelago one of the most geographically isolated island groups in the world. The northern group (37°04' S, 12° 18' W) is composed of Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible and Nightingale islands. Inaccessible and Nightingale lie approximately 30 km to the southwest and south of Tristan da Cunha respectively.  The southernmost and most isolated island, Gough (40°19' S, 9° 57' W), lies 380km to the south southeast. The Tristan group and Gough are volcanic islands formed from the outer slopes of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and range in age from 200,000 years (Tristan) to around 18 million years (Nightingale).  The Tristan archipelago is a hotspot of endemic biodiversity primarily in terrestrial systems and to a lesser extent in marine systems.  The Tristan Rock Lobster (Jasus tristani) is the most valuable commercial species, and is the target of an MSC-certified sustainable lobster fishery that provides over 80% of the island’s GDP, employs over a quarter of the population at peak times, and provides an essential source of human and cargo transportation via fishing boats travelling to and from South Africa.  The neashore kelp forests (Macrocystis pyrifera, Laminaria pallida) that provide critical habitat for the lobster and other species are of particular interest, especially as the Northern group of islands lies near the limits of temperature tolerance for many kelp species.    Offshore waters are also home to a number of pinnipeds, sharks and cetaceans.  Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) and shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) are commonly observed in offshore waters while Broadnose sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) inhabit the nearshore kelp forests. Large and increasing numbers of sub-Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus tropicalis breed at the islands and a very small southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) population exists at their only known breeding location at Gough Island. Offshore waters also support populations of dusky dolphins Lagenorhynchus obscurus and the rare Shepherd’s beaked whale Tasmacetus shepherdi, and they are also known to be a nursery area for Southern right whales Eubalaena australis.    Both Gough and Inaccessible Islands have been given UNESCO World Heritage Site status for their near-pristine environments and vast wildlife populations.  While all of the Tristan islands ecosystems appear relatively intact and healthy, there are numerous threats, some urgent and some emerging.  On both land and in the water, non-native and invasive species are of primary concern for these isolated islands.  Over the next several years we will be assisting the Tristan islanders formulate regimes of protection for their special islands.

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December 06, 2016

Our recent paper in PNAS shows that kelp forests are not declining globally - the story is more complex. Using global datasets on kelps, we found some areas to be in decline, while other areas are increasing.  One thing for sure, we need more long-term datasets on these important systems.

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November 30, 2016

Climate chaos: How El Nino changes the weather

From a monster El Nino to climate change, TechKnow investigates the cause and effect of the current climate chaos.  Jenn Caselle in interviewed for Al Jazeera on the effects of El Nino on local organisms.

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October 19, 2016

PI Jenn Caselle just returned from a National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition to remote Niue island and Beveridge reef.  Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) northeast of New Zealand, and east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands. Its land area is 260 square kilometres and its population, predominantly Polynesian, is around 1,190. They commonly refer to the island as "The Rock", a reference to the traditional name "Rock of Polynesia".  Check out the Nat Geo blog for updates from this expedition.

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September 14, 2016

Darcy Bradley filed her dissertation and is now DOCTOR Bradley. Congratulations.  Darcy's work in Palmyra Atoll showed that populations of reef sharks may not be as large as previously thought, as common methods such as visual surveys tend to overestimate these large mobile predators.  Using the largest tag and recapture program to date, Darcy showed spatial patterns of hotspots and coldspots for these reef sharks.   For a complete look at Darcy's work, check out this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGEaFVuixqs

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June 08, 2016

See Darcy's video 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjLaWn0qXeY

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Undersea Hunter at Clipperton
May 05, 2016

It was with huge excitement that I learned that I would be traveling to Clipperton Island for a National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition, because this would be my second trip to this remote coral reef. My first visit here was almost two decades ago, in 1998. I was a graduate student on my first real remote expedition.

Now, as a more seasoned marine biologist, with many remote expeditions under my belt, I jumped at the chance to revisit this remote, isolated atoll and assess firsthand any changes that had occurred.

 

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April 14, 2016

For Dr. Jenn Caselle, a marine ecologist with the University of California at Santa Barbara, few places are as ideal for studying sharks as Palmyra Atoll.
“I’ve been conducting research at Palmyra for more than a decade, and every time I go down there I have to reset my baseline,” she says. “There are just so many sharks.” 

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December 21, 2015

Jenn gets interviewed by TechKnow on Al Jazeera America

El Niño, “the little boy” in Spanish, packs a big punch for weather patterns all over the world. This natural occurrence begins in the Pacific Ocean at the equator as sea surface temperatures rise and trade winds halt. On this week’s TechKnow, the team speaks with scientific experts that run the gamut from the boundaries of outer space to the bottom of the ocean floor looking to see how science is preparing for more impending storms.

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September 25, 2015

In 2003, California established thirteen Marine Protected Areas around the Channel Islands. Referred to as “MPAs,” they were designed to study and restore marine life. But, restoring meant banning all commercial fishing, or “fisheries,” from operating within the protected areas.

Scientists have gradually been collecting data about the impact of these MPAs. Last week, experts with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute released a comprehensive 10-year study.

By all accounts, the MPAs appear to be working. The report says the fish are healthier and exist in larger quantities, both inside and outside of the MPAs.

But, how does all this affect a local fishing industry that has less room to operate? And what does it mean moving forward?

KCRW’s Jonathan Basitan spoke with Chris Voss, President of the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara and Dr. Jennifer Caselle with the Marine Science Institute, who was the lead author on the new study.

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September 16, 2015

More than a decade ago, California established marine protected areas (MPAs) in state waters around the northern Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. Several years later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) extended these MPAs into the federal waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

To evaluate whether the MPAs are meeting their ecological goals, marine scientists from the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) have been monitoring these rocky reef and kelp forest communities. Three UC Santa Barbara PISCO scientists have now published an analysis of 10 years of monitoring data for the MPAs in the Channel Islands network. The results appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

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May 05, 2015

Marine scientists have long known that some species of fish possess a unique physiological characteristic — a web of arteries and veins lying very close together — that enables them to raise their internal temperatures higher than that of the water surrounding them.

Now, a new study by an international team of scientists that includes UC Santa Barbara research biologist Jenn Caselle has demonstrated that species possessing the ability to warm their core — a process called endothermy — are able to swim two and a half times faster than those whose body temperature doesn’t change. In addition, these species, which include some sharks and tunas, can also swim twice as far — ranges comparable to those of warm-blooded animals such as penguins and other marine mammals. The researchers’ findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

- See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2015/015405/not-so-cold-blooded-creatures#sthash.Apy5tx4T.dpuf

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A haul of mostly chilipepper rockfish caught outside of Monterey
March 01, 2015

Off the coast of California, a radical experiment has closed hundreds of miles of ocean to fishing. Will it lead to better catches for years to come?

Read about our work in California's network of MPAs in the California Sunday Magazine.

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December 08, 2014

A sex-changing fish called California sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher) plays a vital role in the food web of kelp forests along the Pacific coast. Commonly found in the waters from Baja California to Point Conception — although they can sometimes be found as far north as Monterey Bay — sheephead feed on sea urchins, whose grazing habits can wreak havoc on community composition in kelp forests.

A new study by UC Santa Barbara research biologist Jenn Caselle uses data from three decades of research to document differential exploitation and recovery of sheephead populations in the Santa Barbara Channel in response to marine reserves and fishing regulations. Her research on sheephead appears today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

- See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2014/014640/predator-versus-prey#sthash.3Hg6GfJy.dpuf

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October 27, 2014

In the middle of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, situated nearly 1,000 miles south of the Hawaiian Islands, Palmyra Atoll is an ocean wilderness teeming with rare animal and plant life.  Thanks to President Obama, half of the monument’s boundaries have been extended from 50 miles to 200 miles from shore. Last month, the president used his Antiquities Act authority to expand the monument to a total of nearly 500,000 square miles, making it the largest marine preserve in the world. It also presents unparalleled research opportunities for UC Santa Barbara marine scientists.

“The monument is a large, relatively pristine part of the Pacific Ocean,” said Jenn Caselle, a research biologist with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute who conducts research on Palmyra Atoll. “When we protect our near-shore coral reefs, we tend to forget that there are linkages through the movement of mobile animals, energy and water that go well past these arbitrary human boundaries of 50 miles out.”

Caselle is also director of the Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium (PARC), a group of cooperating institutions that undertakes collaborative research to understand the terrestrial, marine and climate systems of Palmyra Atoll and the central Pacific. The group’s research advances the conservation of island and coastal systems worldwide. “You’ll see a theme in most of the work we do down there,” Caselle said. “It all takes advantage of the pristine nature of Palmyra. We do work that you can’t do anywhere else, and we’ve produced a lot of lucky graduates since 2004 thanks to PARC.”

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July 20, 2011

The California Ocean Protection Council has awarded $4 million to support the initial monitoring of newly designated marine protected areas along the southern California coast. The projects, three of which are headquartered at UC Santa Barbara, will collect baseline information for up to three years. They will target marine life and habitats –– as well as commercial and recreational activities –– inside and outside the protected areas from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the California/Mexico Border. 

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February 22, 2010

Marine reserves are known to be effective conservation tools when they are placed and designed properly. This week, a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is dedicated to the latest science on marine reserves, with a focus on where and how reserves can most effectively help to meet both conservation and fisheries goals. - See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2010/012776/marine-reserves-hit-spotlight-pnas-special-issue-aaas-press-briefing#sthash.fdBaVBzG.dpuf

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January 23, 2003

Caselle, science coordinator for PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) and assistant research biologist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, will appear in five live segments while diving in the water just off Anacapa Island during the second week of the JASON project.

She will explain how the circulation patterns in the Channel region influence the communities that live on near-shore reefs. As part of the curriculum for JASON XIV, she took a student host with her to compare intertidal areas north and south of Point Conception. They learned that because the Channel is warmer and nutrient depleted compared to areas north of Point Conception, the diversity and abundance of marine algae and organisms is low. The opposite is true to the north of Point Conception.

During her live video segments she will show techniques for monitoring kelp forests and explain how kelp reefs form habitat for marine animals. She will explain how to count organisms in quadrants or cubes of ocean and how important it is to have baseline data in order to see changes over time.

On the JASON web page Caselle explains some of her current work: "Very generally I am interested in understanding near-shore marine ecosystems and specifically understanding the pathways of larval dispersal in marine organisms and the connections between populations. I have done this work in tropical and temperate reef systems, but PISCO studies only the West Coast of the U.S. from Washington down to Southern California. I am also interested in fisheries ecology and how to better understand and manage our marine resources."

Caselle said she is spending an extraordinary amount of time on the JASON project but that it's worth it to be able to reach the millions of school children that JASON serves

- See more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2003/011675/ucsb-researchers-participate-jason-project#sthash.Xjd8Y2n1.dpuf

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October 10, 1999

By studying the chemical composition and physical structure of the otolith -- the tiny crystalline stone in the inner ear of the fish -- scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara discovered that significant numbers of larval fish return to reefs where they were spawned. 

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