Kelp and Urchin Webinar

June 24, 2021 - 6:30 PM
Elakha Alliance

Purple urchin barren destroying kelp.\Photo by Kate Vylet.

The Elakha Alliance presents a webinar on the relationship between purple urchins and kelp on Thursday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.  The event is free and open to all.

“Dive into a Changing Ecosystem: Kelp Forests & Urchin Barrens” features Kate Vylet, underwater photographer, scientific diver, and divemaster anchored in Monterey Bay, California, and Josh Smith, Ph.D. Candidate and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz.

California’s coast has been home to a vibrant underwater forest of towering kelp and diverse wildlife. In the last six years, unprecedented outbreaks of purple sea urchins have decimated kelp forests within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, lending several questions: What caused the urchin outbreak? How have sea otters responded? Will intervention and urchin culling enhance kelp recovery? Through underwater photography and observations by Kate Vylet, and a scientific discussion by Josh Smith, this talk will outline how science, art, and community observation intersect to inform the path forward.

The Elakha Alliance is dedicated to exploring the possibility of reintroducing sea otters to Oregon’s marine environment.  The species was driven extinct within the state by over-hunting more than a century ago.  The topic of this webinar correlates directly with the Elakha Alliance’s efforts to reintroduce sea otters here, since Oregon is experiencing similar ecological shifts with urchin barrens.

To register for this event, go here.