Oceanography – Current Models

We are using oceanographic modeling to simulate how the water moves along the coast and transports urchin larvae in central California. Many invertebrate species (including our study species purple and red sea urchins) release larvae into the water column that are moved around by the ocean currents as they develop before settling in suitable habitat. This pelagic larval stage is very challenging to study because the larvae are very small (~1-2 mm). These larvae are too small to track using GPS tags or by releasing drifters in the vicinity because the water moves a larger drifter buoy differently than a small larva.