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Scientist receives California Sea Grant funding

Dr. Corey Garza of the Division of Science and Environmental Policy has received funding from the University of Southern California Sea Grant program as part of its urban ocean project. CSUMB is one of six California universities selected to take part in a research program aimed at making the state’s urban coastline more sustainable. “In urban regions with large populations living adjacent to our coasts, the challenge is to understand the problems and help to create approaches to sustain and improve the health of coastal ecosystems," said Sea Grant director Linda Duguay. All of the applications for funding were reviewed by outside experts for scientific merit and relevance to current marine issues – such as fish contamination, habitat diversity, urban runoff and the role of ocean water toxicity. The project led by CSUMB marine ecologist Garza will take a closer look at the importance of intertidal areas for lobsters and sheephead fish. The two species use these areas to eat and reproduce, but fishing and human disturbance have impacted the important role the intertidal play in their lifecycles. Dr. Garza plans to compare an intertidal area in unprotected urban water with a marine-protected area, where fishing is prohibited. “The study will compare a protected with an unprotected intertidal area, looking at factors like the species’ reproductive conditions,” Dr. Garza said. “The differences will help us gauge the communities’ importance to the animals.” Dr. Garza, who received $39,000 for the study and an additional $25,000 to fund a graduate student researcher, will initiate the research in June. He said he hopes this investigation will help to integrate intertidal habitats into the design of marine protected areas so these key economic species can maintain sustainable populations. “This habitat is critical to these species, but the species are also an important part of the coastal ecosystems,” he said. “The study will provide more evidence to support their conservation efforts.”

Learn more about the Division of Science and Environmental Policy.

Information from Science and the CSU blog