Jarred Klosinski

I am interested in the decay of algae along sandy and rocky beaches. Once the algae is detached from the substrate, it floats to the surface for a period of time where it can either sink or can be washed up on the shore during high tide. I’m focusing on the detritus that makes it to the beaches. Once on land, and depending on the tide, the detritus can be in one of three tide zones or be moved to a different area on the beach. If it does not get high enough on the beach or doesn’t get buried by sand or caught in a rock, it can be washed away by the next tide. The process gets pretty complicated and there are a lot of variables involved.

On land, the bacterial population explodes and they’re one of the primary consumers. Other invertebrates and insects then feed on the bacteria, and seabirds and larger invertebrates feed on the smaller invertebrates creating a unique food chain. Not only do organisms feed on the wrack, they also live in the sediment below to remineralize the material. The detritus decay by bacteria and invertebrates plays an important role in biodiversity in a relatively low productivity area.

For my thesis I am doing a comparison of abundance, residence time, and nutritional quality (phlorotannins, nitrogen/carbon content, and bacterial abundance) within the algal tissue over the course of a year. I’m using six sites (3 rocky and 3 sandy beaches) throughout Monterey and Santa Cruz counties that vary in morphology. Basically, I’ll be measuring how much is washing ashore, how long it stays on the beach, and looking at how phlorotannins (antiherbivory compounds produced by algae), and nitrogen/carbon concentrations affect bacterial abundance at different stages of decay.