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Research and monitoring at Elkhorn Slough: Exotic creatures in the mud

Kerstin Wasson, Ph.D.
Elkhorn Slough Reserve

Wednesday, July 19, 2000
3:00 p.m.—Pacific Forum


This bright orange sponge, an exotic invader, forms massive frilly mounds on the mudflats of Elkhorn Slough.

After a brief background of my own research in invertebrate evolutionary ecology (and an explanation of my fascination with the bizarre sexual habits of colonial animals), I will review the research and monitoring programs at nearby Elkhorn Slough Reserve. I will discuss 1) baseline characterization, 2) long-term monitoring, 3) studies examining threats to the Slough and how best to minimize them, and 4) restoration ecology. As an extended example, I will highlight my study of exotic invertebrate invaders of the Slough, which tested the hypothesis that this estuary, without international shipping, should harbor many fewer invaders than San Francisco Bay. Besides describing past and current projects, I will share my vision of future research priorities for the Slough, inviting comment and participation from neighbors at MBARI and other local research institutions.

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