Profiles from the Peninsula is a series dedicated to spotlighting the partners who make up the Baja Working Group, and their projects. This week’s profile is on Arturo Ramírez-Valdez, PhD candidate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the leader of the Mero Gigante Project.
Puedes leer este blog en español aquí.
Profiles from the Peninsula is a series dedicated to spotlighting the partners who make up the Baja Working Group, and their projects. Each week, we will bring you a new profile in the form of a blog like this one. More information about the working group can be found here.
Arturo Ramírez-Valdez, a marine biology student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has dedicated his PhD career to cross-border research. For example, Arturo has been reviewing the benefits that kelp forest ecosystems provide to humans, and how these services will respond to climatic and non-climatic changes such as increasing ocean temperatures, or fishing pressure. As he puts it, “Climate change is today an opportunity. Tomorrow it will be a crisis. From a scientific view, more research focused on how climate change will impact species populations and ecosystems across the border is needed.” Arturo also sees this as a multi-pronged approach, explaining that “to tackle this, we’ll need the combined effort of society, governments, and research institutions, in a transborder collaborative effort.”
The connectivity of kelp forests across the Californias means that, to fully understand impacts to and assess the health of these ecosystems, a holistic view is needed. Arturo’s work with the critically endangered giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) is an example of this need. The giant sea bass’s range extends north and south of the US-Mexico border, meaning that massive overfishing and poor regulations on either side of the border have impacted the entire population of this once-abundant predator on both. This not only impacts the giant sea bass population, it also has cascading effects down the kelp forest ecosystem.
Through his initiative Proyecto Mero Gigante, Arturo is leading a cross-border, binational effort to study, monitor, and map the giant sea bass population, and communicate this work across various sectors of society including policy, fisheries, and schools. Arturo is also working on assessing the potential impacts of climate change is having on the giant sea bass as part of this larger effort. Arturo’s multi-faceted approach is helping connect cross border research, conservation efforts, and policy efforts.
The Baja Working Group is a collaboration between the Climate Science Alliance and the International Community Foundation. Learn more here.