Lecture on Kelp and Whales

March 5, 2022 - 10:00 AM
Cape Perpetua Collaborative

Kelp forest and research vessel.\Photo courtesy of the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.

The Cape Perpetual Collaborative presents a talk on “Kelp to Whales:  Evidence for a Bottom-Up Trophic Cascade” on Saturday, March 5, 10 a.m.  The online presentation is free and open to all.

The speaker is Lisa Hildebrand, a graduate student at Oregon State University in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Sciences.  She is a fourth-year graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Leigh Torres in her Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna lab at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. She is an international student from Germany who has undertaken research on a handful of marine mammal species including bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, humpback, blue, and now, gray whales, which have become the focus of her graduate research.

Kelp forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide crucial habitat for myriad species across all trophic levels of coastal food webs, including gray whales on the Oregon coast. Gray whales forage heavily in kelp-dominated reefs where high abundances of their zooplankton prey are found. However, kelp forests have been declining along the West Coast coincident with increases in purple sea urchin populations. These changes are happening on the Oregon coast--are higher trophic levels, like gray whales, affected? Hildebrand will discuss the research that a team of Oregon State University researchers is doing to answer such questions.

To register for the event, go here.