Understanding the seasonality of red abalone recruitment (larval settlement) and the relationship between recruitment and oceanographic conditions is critical for managing this economically important species. Red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, were historically part of a recreational and commercial fishery in southern and central California until overharvesting and disease rapidly decreased populations. Recruitment dynamics of red abalone are poorly understood. Previous research conducted at a central California site, Hopkins Marine Life Refuge (HMLR), from 2012-2015 reveal remarkably consistent recruitment rates of red abalone, while northern California recruitment greatly fluctuated within the same time period. To address this gap in our knowledge, I will investigate the seasonality of red abalone recruitment at HMLR in the central California population. This location provides an opportunity to ask this question in a unique location with consistent recruitment across years. To target early recruits, I will assess the numbers of new settlers monthly over the course of one year from July 2016-June 2017. I will simultaneously collect data at HMLR on temperature, wind, and wave forces to evaluate potential correlations between these factors and periods of high abalone recruitment. I hypothesize that seasons and physical oceanographic parameters work synchronously to maintain red abalone recruitment rates in central California, and predict a peak in red abalone recruitment between the months of August through November.
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