Wendy Bragg is a fourth year Ph.D. student advised by Dr. Pete Raimondi in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy (CSP). Wendy is collaborating with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, and the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) to examine the impacts of the 2020 California fires and subsequent rains on the rocky intertidal endangered black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) populations along the central California coast. Her studies monitor how increased sediment influxes from debris flows and mudslides can change habitat availability and directly impact populations and habitats. This examination pivoted to rescue, husbandry, relocation, and ongoing monitoring efforts when many areas of the Big Sur’s rocky intertidal coast were inundated by sediment from debris flows in January 2021, burying large areas of habitat and stranding many black abalone far from the new waterline. She is continuing to track the success of the relocation efforts and to monitor the ongoing sediment changes to the coast through the use of drones. She aims to inform future emergency response and restoration efforts through her work. Wendy serves on the Black Abalone Recovery Team, Monitoring and Emergency Response Subcommittee where she is the lead for Emergency Response Planning. More recently, Wendy has been exploring methods to develop a culturing protocol to support the recovery of black abalone.
You can find a list of several news articles related to the 2021 rescue efforts at the “In The News” tab of the MARINe Website.