Accurate assessment of marine protected areas (MPA) is critical to conservation efforts especially as the U.S. moves to a national network of these areas. To make these assessments, scientists will need a better understanding of how biophysical processes operate at small scales in these areas. By establishing a kelp forest observatory in the MPA adjacent to Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, the EVP team will be able to monitor small-scale physical, chemical and biological processes that affect near-shore fish assemblages within the marine protected area.
The observatory includes assessments of hypoxic (inadequate oxygen levels) events and carbon/pH cycling in kelp forest environments. These findings and results will help us quantify the effects of oceanic carbon increases in coastal environments where diurnal fluctuations can be significantly greater than overall predicted changes due to climate change in 100-year forecasts.