The Future of Seafood Under Climate Change

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Date & Time

Thu, Jan 16 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Address (map)

113 Harbor Way

Venue (website)

S.B. Maritime Museum

Lecture by Christopher M. Free, Ph.D.

Climate change is reshaping ocean ecosystems and their ability to provide food and income for people. Using his research on the California Dungeness crab fishery, Dr. Chris Free will discuss (1) how climate change is altering ocean physics, chemistry, and biology, (2) why and how these changes impact ocean creatures; and (3) what these changes mean for people. The Dungeness crab fishery is the most economically important fishery in California state waters but has suffered recent shutdowns due to harmful algal blooms and the entanglement of whales in crab fishing gear. Both of these challenges are expected to become worse under climate change and Chris will show how his research team is developing and testing solutions.

Beginning with his interest in quantitative ecology, Chris received a BA in Conservation Biology from Middlebury College, where he studied the population dynamics and sustainable management of tropical trees. Following graduation, he worked as a researcher with the US Forest Service, on seabird conservation at Audubon Alaska, and as a fisheries field technician at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Chris did his doctoral work with Olaf Jensen at Rutgers University, where he worked on small-scale fisheries management, data-limited stock assessment, and impacts of climate change on global fisheries. His research uses quantitative and interdisciplinary methods to explore solutions to aquatic conservation and management problems. Currently a post doc with the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB, Chris will be working to assess the impact of climate change and management reform on country-level fisheries health and profitability.


Since 2000, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has featured many artifacts and stories to share the history of the Santa Barbara Channel with more than 40,000 visitors annually and provides year-round experiential maritime history and marine science education for local youth. Featuring the impressive First-Order Fresnel Lighthouse Lens from Point Conception, SBMM’s current exhibits explore Geology of Oil in Santa Barbara Channel & Chumash Use of Asphaltum, the Honda Disaster, and Wives and Daughters: Keepers of the Light.


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