Awardee: Elijah Catalan
Department: Institute of Environment and Sustainability
Bio: Elijah Catalan is a first year Ph.D. student at UCLA in the Institute of Environment and Sustainability. His research intends to bring together genomic-based biodiversity monitoring, biogeochemistry, Indigenous tribal knowledge, and stewardship programs to understand the resilience of coastal and marine biodiversity to climate change and possibilities for adaptation on the West Coast. After finishing his graduate studies, Elijah plans to enter a research-based career where he can help protect and empower those communities disproportionately impacted by environmental conditions and underrepresented in the field of environmental conservation.
Project Summary: This project will use environmental DNA to probe fish diversity of an artificial reef within the Southern California Bight. Artificial reefs have been constructed in this area as a part of NOAA Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) to restore fish habitats and visual surveys are conducted at this site by the Vantuna Research group but only once a year. This project will compare samples from a recently completed artificial reef to a nearby natural rocky reef which the artificial reef was modelled after as well as to the annual SCUBA surveys.