The Biology Seminar Series of Spring 2019 continues with Ryan Freedman's talk, "Restoration in the Urban Landscape: Building Effective Fish Nurseries."
California has lost large amounts of estuarine space to coastline urbanization which has degraded important fish nursery habitats. Restoration allows resources managers to recover some of these habitats but these efforts face a number of challenges including landscape fragmentation and impacts from surrounding urban spaces. In addition, there are limited extant estuaries to compare to the functionality of restored estuaries. By using animal movements, diet and behavior, we can create functional metrics to assess restoration projects and understand the connectivity potential of restored estuaries along the Southern California Coast. Research shows that fish and sharks seasonally use estuaries at high densities and can rapidly move between them even at distances of 10 kilometers. While fish appear to use estuaries of any shape and size, restoration design, microhabitat availability and habitat maturity appears to influence the diets and microhabitat selection of some fish species. Intertidal and subtidal vegetation is a critical restoration feature for juvenile fishes and restoration managers should be ensuring new restoration projects include these aspects. Looking forward, regional managers should think of projects as a network and build a variety of habitat types for fishes.