Effects of land use and ocean forcing on the processing and transport of nutrients and carbon to giant kelp forests. Role of climate change/variability and disturbance on nearshore population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem processes. Controls on reef food webs.
The Santa Barbara Coastal LTER is located in the coastal zone of southern California near Santa Barbara. It is bounded by the steep east-west trending Santa Ynez Mountains and coastal plain to the north and the unique Northern Channel Islands archipelago to the south. Point Conception, where the coast of California returns to a north to south orientation, lies at the western boundary, and the Santa Clara River marks its eastern edge.The site lies on the active boundary of the Pacific Oceanic Plate and the North American Continental Plate. High levels of tectonic activity have created dramatic elevation gradients in both the terrestrial and the underwater landscapes of the site. The Santa Barbara Channel includes some of the deepest ocean basins known on the continental shelf along with remarkable submarine canyons and escarpments.
The SBC LTER was established in April 2000. The kelp forests, coastal ocean and watersheds of this area have been studied independently for many years.