Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center
Catalina Island

(Click any image for full-size view)
Map of Catalina Island.
Looking West across Isthmus Cove, near Two Harbors.
Overview of the Marine Science Center and housing facilities. The Center consists of a 30,000 square-foot laboratory building, a dormitory housing and cafeteria complex, a hyperbaric chamber, an administration building, and a large waterfront staging area complete with dock, pier, helipad, and diving lockers. These facilities are available to visiting scientists and educational groups.
The USC Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber is an emergency facility for the treatment of scuba diving accidents. It is available for patients suffering from decompression sickness (the "bends") and air embolism.
California Sheephead California Sheephead (Semicossypus pulcher): female Sheephead around here are typically less than one foot (usually about 25 cm) and males are typically just over one foot (about 35 cm). Adult California Sheephead are female until they have grown to 35 to 38cm, when the ovaries become testes; fishes then function as males for the rest of their lives. California Sheephead spawn in spring and summer and feed on crustaceans, echinoderms, and mollusks.
Patrick is helping a graduate student capture, tag, and measure population densities of Sheephead inside vs. outside the Marine Preserve boundary and track Sheephead to see if the marine reserve is acting as a source of Sheephead for the surrounding non-reserve areas, thus enabling the entire area to act as a sustainable fishery while not doing damage to the fish population
Black Sea Urchin (Centrostephanus coronatus). The Black Sea urchins outnumber the other two species by more than a hundred fold. This is probably because the black urchin has much longer spines, causing Sheephead to have a much harder time making a meal out of them.
Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)
Red Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus)
The Sheephead is a predator of the Sea Urchin. Patrick is also measuring Sea Urchin population densities inside vs. outside the Marine Preserve boundary, for an independent study class at UC-Santa Cruz. "I hope to show whether or not Sheephead play a similar role as sea otters in regulating a kelp forest. Sea otters were once abundant throughout California, but were hunted almost to extinction. They have made an excellent recovery over the last 30 years, but still do not occupy the range they once did. I am looking at Sheephead densities (specifically the densities of the large urchin-eating sheephead), urchin densities, and kelp (urchin food) density to see if an increase in large male sheephead (e.g. in the marine reserve) results in a decreased urchin density and an increase in kelp density."

Click on Zoom for a 360 degree panorama of Catalina Island (244KB).
Patrick's email