Sea Grant News

2015 Core Awards Announced

As ocean acidification (OA) and warming progress, how will California fisheries respond? This question is taking a front row seat in CA Sea Grant’s 2015 Core Awards.

Andrew Gracey (USC) will study the combined effect of OA and copper pollution on mussel larvae. The impact of OA on early life stages of fish will be investigated in cabezon by Gretchen Hofmann (UCSB) and in black anchovies by Ron Burton (UCSD/Scripps).

Gretchen Hoffman will study the affects of ocean acidification on cabezon development.

Gretchen Hoffman (UCSB) will study the affects of ocean acidification on cabezon development.

Also at UCSD/Scripps, Dr. Lisa Levin will research whether the pink sea urchin – which lives in more acidic conditions – shows promise as a commercial replacement for red and black urchins in the event of increasing ocean acidification.

In a question of relevance to nearly two dozen Marine Protected Area (MPA) baseline monitoring projects funded by the Ocean Protection Council, Sean Lema (Cal Poly SLO) will explore a new tool to monitor the impact of MPAs on fish stocks. Lema will test whether measuring plasma concentrations of the growth hormone IGF-I could provide a non-lethal method for quantifying the growth rate and nutritional status of marine fishes.

Two final projects are focused on the health of inland species. Donald Strong (UC Davis) will experiment on native cordgrass strains to find the hardiest variety for revegetation following removal of invasive Spartina. Darren Ward (Humboldt State) will track juvenile Coho salmon to discover what happens to young-of-year when warmer water temperatures force them to leave their spawning grounds prematurely.

Funding for CASG’s Core Awards comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Grants are awarded for one or two years on a biennial basis. The projects below are expected to run between February 1 2015 and January 31, 2016.

Full project descriptions can be viewed in the California Sea Grant Program Directory 2015

Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Larval Anchovies, Engraulis mordax
Ronald Burton, UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 858.822.5784,

Global Change Ecophysiology of egg masses and juveniles of the kelp forest fish, Scorpaenichthys marmoratus
Gretchen Hofmann, UC Santa Barbara, 805.893.6175,

Predicting the Impact of Ocean Acidification on Copper Toxicity to Marine Invertebrates
R/HCME-14 Feb. 2015 – Jan. 2016
Andrew Gracey, University of Southern California, 213.740.2288,

Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) as a physiological biomarker for growth rate and nutritional status of fishes in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
R/HCME-15 Feb. 2015 – Jan. 2016
Sean Lema, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 805.756.2802,
Brian Beckman, NOAA Fisheries, 206.860.3461,
Dean Wendt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 805.756.2988,

Examination of phenotypic plasticity of native Spartina foliosa populations in San Francisco Bay for tidal marsh restoration, endangered species support and adaptation to sea level rise
R/HCME-16 Feb. 2015 – Jan. 2016
Donald Strong, UC Davis, 707.875.2022,
Patricia Foschi, SF State University,

Developing a Climate Change-Tolerant Urchin Fishery
R/SSFS-02 Feb. 2015 – Jan. 2016
Lisa Levin, UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 858.534.3579,

Juvenile life history and adult return as a function of juvenile rearing location for coho salmon in the Shasta River, CA
R/SSFS-03 Feb. 2015 – Jan. 2016
Darren Ward, Humboldt State University, 707.826.3344,