Abstract

Leptasterias spp., a six-rayed sea star, is found in rocky intertidal habitats ranging from Alaska to central California. Leptasterias spp. can be monitored on a broad scale throughout their range by a variety of means using timed counts and random plot censusing in order to detect both large-scale and local-level changes in the environment due to climate change, land-based human activity, or other environmental events. Leptasterias brood their young externally until the embryos grow into fully developed juveniles. These juveniles disperse by crawling away, limiting their dispersal potential. This localized dispersal provides an opportunity to use Leptasterias spp. as sentinel species of local environmental health across a broad geographic range. We aim to develop an effective method for monitoring these small brooding sea stars along a heterogeneous coastline. We describe two methods for monitoring Leptasterias spp. populations that take into account the patchy distribution patterns of the species in multiple habitat types. Variable sized plots, line transects, and timed counts were used. Monitoring sites were strategically chosen for assessing environmental factors including temperature and terrestrial runoff nearest to San Francisco Bay. Split into two categories of habitat type, beach and tide pool habitat, sites were censused using methods that maximize accuracy of sampling efforts in determining population sizes.

Disciplines

Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biodiversity | Biology | Developmental Biology | Evolution | Life Sciences | Marine Biology | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Population Biology

Mentor

C. Sarah Cohen

Lab site

Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (RTC)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU)., This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013 and Grant No. 0833353. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU)., This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013 and Grant No. 0934931. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).

 

URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/104

 

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