Colorado mountains
From Long-Term Data to Understanding: Toward a Predictive Ecology
2015 LTER ASM Estes Park, CO - August 30 - September 2, 2015

Ecological Transitions in the California Current Ecosystem

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Poster Number: 
Presenter/Primary Author: 
Mark Ohman

The California Current Ecosystem (CCE) LTER site is a coastal upwelling biome that focuses on the pelagic ecosystem in the southern sector of the California Current System.  We are fortunate to have a 67-year context of ecosystem processes in this region thanks to the sustained efforts of CalCOFI, the longest interdisciplinary ocean time series in United States waters.  Although this pelagic ecosystem is subject to highly variable forcing on multiple temporal scales (including interannual, decadal, and multi-decadal variations), CCE is particularly interested in the low frequency component of ecosystem change.  CCE scientists are addressing both the physical and biotic processes that lead to the initiation of relatively abrupt changes in ecological conditions, as well as their corollary: ecosystem resilience and stability.  In the current funding cycle, CCE has focused our process studies on (sub)mesoscale fronts in the California Current System and their relationship to ecosystem changes.  We have hypothesized that these frontal regions of high spatial gradients play a disproportionate role in predator-prey interactions, nutrient fluxes, and vertical export fluxes in this pelagic ecosystem.  We expect that the dynamics at frontal structures will play a key role in long-term changes and stability.  This poster will give a brief overview of some of the approaches taken in the CCE-LTER site, different components of our site science and outreach programs, and some of the opportunities for collaboration with other LTER sites.