June 28, 2018

Healthy Kelp Forests Seen on Big Sur Expedition

Last week, 20 divers were able to complete surveys for all 10 sites attempted along the Big Sur coast of California! Over the course of four days, we completed three sites near Big Creek reserve, four sites near Point Sur and three sites near Cambria. As always, Big Sur treated all on board with a magical experience. We had fantastic weather with beautiful sunsets. We spotted humpback whales, dolphins and an albatross along the way. Under the water, we spotted huge lingcod and vermillion rockfish and saw large stands of kelp, including Pterygophora, Laminaria setchellii, giant kelp and bull kelp.

This was our fourth year of surveying these sites along the Big Sur coast and we are happy to report that these kelp forests appear healthy with abundant kelp and appropriate populations of sea urchins, unlike some other areas of the state that have become urchin barrens in the past few years following the outbreak of sea-star wasting disease and warm water events. We even saw a sunflower star, a species that was once common but today is rarely seen.

The crew on the Truth Aquatics boat, the Vision, were amazing as always and helped to ensure that all of our important work was completed. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this trip happen. Without the dedication of our supporters and volunteers, this important data could not have been collected.


Photo: Justin Gill Photo: Selena McMillan Photo: Justin Gill
Photo: Jessica Bray Photo: Justin Gill Photo: Keith Rootsaert