Saving Black Abalone

In early 2021, deep into the global pandemic, another crisis was about to occur. In the middle of the Pacific, a strong winter storm was brewing, poised to send an atmospheric river straight into California. This storm would end up dumping more than 15 inches in less than 48 hours along the Central California Coastline.


Around California, the effects of climate change have taken on many faces. From warming oceans changing the species composition of habitats to increased extreme weather events. After several years of intense drought, and what has become the new normal, much of California was parched; 15 of the last 20 years were considered to be drought years.  On August 16, 2020, a rare lightning storm swept across the state, igniting hundreds of fires including several along the Central Coast. Nearly 5% of the state burned in 2020, most of which was due to the lightning storm. 

Scientists from the University of California Santa Cruz noticed that several of the fires burned adjacent to critical habitat for the endangered large marine snail, the Black Abalone. 

species are well adapted to withstand some of the planet's most extreme conditions. Species like sea stars, mussels, barnacles, and snails all face constant beatings from waves, submersion at high tides, and desiccation during low tides. Withstanding hot direct sunlight and bitterly cold waters.

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