Phase Shifts, Alternative Stable States, and the Loss of Ecosystem Function in Southern California Lagoons
Date: 01/21/09 6:30 pm - 01/21/09 8:30 pm
Location: University of Southern California, Philips Waite Hall (WPH) rooms B27 & B28
Coastal estuaries of southern California are diverse, productive systems that provide many important ecosystem functions and services; However, an estimated 90% have been lost to development and the remaining are at risk from severe degradation. Excessive nutrient input from urban development in southern California watersheds has caused a series of shifts in the primary producer communities of our estuaries. Seagrass dominated estuaries are now dominated by massive, harmful blooms of opportunistic green macroalgae. These macroalgal blooms are stabilized by several positive feedback loops in the ecosystem. Experimental evidence strongly suggests that additional increases in nutrient supply (bottom up forcing) may result in a future shift to an estuarine community of toxic cyanobacteria with negative effects cascading up several levels of the food web. As a result of these phase shifts, important ecosystem functions of trophic support and nutrient retention have been lost, increasing "downstream" risks to our other coastal communities. In order to conserve and restore our vital coastal ecosystems, we must work to reduce nutrient inputs from our highly developed watersheds.
Dr. Peggy Fong, professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, will present Phase Shifts, Alternative Stable States, and the Loss of Ecosystem Function in Southern California Lagoons. She is co-Investigator for the UCLA part of the NSF grant for COSEE West.
Contact Name: COSEE West office at UCLA
Contact Phone: (310) 206-8247
Contact Email: email@example.com
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