UCLA La Kretz Center’s 9th Annual Lecture
One of the great challenges in conservation biology is discovering ‘what was natural’ before human impacts. This problem is especially pressing in marine systems where biological monitoring and other records are brief or lacking. Dr. Susan Kidwell has been tackling this problem in our Southern California marine ecosystems by treating the shells acquired during marine surveys as a young fossil record to reveal the dramatic, unsuspected changes in species composition and abundance that have occurred across much of our region. This reconstructed history of the last few thousand years highlights the profound transformation of seafloor communities in response to ~300 years of shifting land-use in the Los Angeles watershed, providing a powerful tool that can help set priorities for restoration.