April 27, 2015
In March, Farallon Institute scientists Bill Sydeman, Marisol Garcia-Reyes, and Sarah Ann Thompson participated in a workshop in South Africa for a newly-funded project that will compare the California and Benguela Current Ecosystems. Collaborators Bryan Black and Margit Wilhelm (University of Texas), Steven Bograd (NOAA), and Ryan Rykaczewski (University of South Carolina) also made the journey. The American researchers met with the South African collaborators in Lambert’s Bay, South Africa, from March 9-13.
For this project, the group will characterize trends and variability in upwelling (a process responsible for high biological productivity) in the Benguela Current System (BCS), and will investigate how this variability affects the ecosystem. Later, these biophysical relationships will be compared with those in the California Current System (CCS). Workshop participants gave presentations detailing recent research done in both the CCS as well as in the BCS, which is the basis and framework for the current project. The meeting was a success getting this research off the ground while allowing the large group of collaborators an opportunity to get to know each other in the light of working together for the next several years.
Lambert’s Bay is a small coastal town in the Western Cape region of South Africa. It was formerly known for its fishery, but is now more largely known for the sizeable and easily-accessible cape gannet colony. Data collected at the gannet colony over the last 25 years will be used in the aforementioned research. The area around Lambert’s Bay is also known for the production of rooibos tea and French fries. The American group was excited to find that wild ostriches are commonly seen on the drive from Cape Town to Lambert’s Bay.