Catalina Reyes

Like many estuaries throughout the world, Elkhorn Slough in Monterey County, California, has been heavily altered by human activity. In 1946 the Army Corp of Engineers removed a dune barrier that separated Elkhorn Slough from Monterey Bay. As a result, Elkhorn Slough has undergone a drastic hydrodynamic change as it is now under the strong tidal influence of the Monterey Bay, turning a system that was once depositional into one that is erosional. This erosion has resulted in the exposure of different types of substrates such as consolidated clays and remnant shells of bivalves.

For my master’s thesis I am studying the distribution of subtidal substrates and the habitat forming species that may be associated with these substrates. Based on field observations there are primarily four types of substrates in the Slough: consolidated clay that has been exposed and is continuously eroding; unconsolidated sand; finer unconsolidated silts; and biogenic substrate that results from bivalve shells. The first part of my thesis is to determine if there is a pattern in subtidal distributions of sediment type within the Elkhorn Slough in respect to high erosion areas versus low erosion areas. Once I determine the distribution of substrates I then will determine if associations exist between habitat forming species and substrate type. Habitat forming species within Elkhorn Slough include Gracilariopsis sp., Ulva sp., Sarcodiotheca sp., Chondracanthus exasperatus, Zostera marina and bivalves. Lastly, if feasible, I would like to determine if there are distinct community assemblages associated with these habitat forming species.

Contact info:

Catalina E. Reyes
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
8272 Moss Landing Rd.
Moss Landing, CA 95039-9647
Phone #: 831-771-4421
Fax #: 831-632-4403
e-mail: creyes@mlml.calstate.edu