Gretchen is filling data gaps and creating a team of outreach specialists.
Ocean acidification is an active area of research, but there are two gaps in this research. First, there is limited data on the variability of interacting stressors in coastal ecosystems. Second, there is limited understanding on how and if organisms will respond to these changes. Gretchen is collaborating with the Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research Network to fill these gaps. Specifically, she will answer:
- What is the variability of pH and oxygen in the kelp forest ecosystem?
- How do species in this forest respond to both low pH and oxygen?
Along with filling these research gaps, Gretchen is committed to connecting with broad audiences. She is organizing a joint science and art show with Lily Simonson. Lily Simonson is a painter who has worked in the Antarctic and paints the same organisms that Gretchen is focusing on. Also, Gretchen will continue to collaborate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and will reach out to the local sea urchin diving community to encourage citizen science. Gretchen is writing articles on ocean global change biology in California.
Currently, Gretchen is putting together a team of outreach specialists on climate change issues that are important to the California coast. This undergraduate team at UC Santa Barbara is focused on how ocean acidification may affect food security.