Sarah Farnsworth at Bodega Marine Labs

Environmental Policy & Management student Sarah

I am currently working as an intern with California Fish and Wildlife's North Coast Kelp Lab at Bodega Marine Labs. The role of macroalgae in storing carbon in these ecosystems has been studied in depth, however when a kelp stand is decimated by sea urchins and they become the dominant fauna in the system, there is a gap in knowledge of their role in storing carbon. The primary focus of my practicum is a scientific study to determine the role of purple sea urchins in north coast kelp forest carbon sequestration. I am using a large sample of sea urchins to determine the carbon content in their 'skeletons' and will use that information with the population data collected by CDFW previously to determine their role in carbon storage at the lab's major study sites on the north coast. Aside from this focused research project, I am also assisting the lab in collecting, organizing, and analyzing invertebrate fisheries data for urchins, abalone, and clams and plan to incorporate an element of outreach for all of the above information (videos, blog posts, briefs, etc.) in order to inform managers and the public of the current state of these important fisheries species and recommended actions.