This presentation is part of the Cape Perpetua Speaker Series, hosted by the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.

Kelp forests are dynamic ecosystems that provide crucial habitat for a myriad of species across all trophic levels of coastal food webs, including gray whales on the Oregon coast. Gray whales forage heavily in kelp-dominated reefs where high abundances of their zooplankton prey are found. However, kelp forests have been declining along the US West Coast coincident with increases in purple sea urchin populations. Are these changes happening on the Oregon coast and are higher trophic levels, like gray whales, affected? Come hear about the research that a team of Oregon State University researchers to answer these questions.​

Lisa Hildebrand is a fourth year graduate student at Oregon State University in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Leigh Torres in her Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna lab. She is an international student from Germany who very quickly after moving here in the fall of 2018 fell in love with Oregon and all it has to offer. Lisa has undertaken research on a handful of marine mammal species including bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, humpback, blue, and now, gray whales, who have become the focus of her graduate research.


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