This research included remote sensing data analysis (primarily chlorophyll a as an indicator of phytoplankton production) of the California Current System from northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to Baja California, Mexico, using nine years of data from the SeaWiFS sensor.  Novel analytical approaches were used to identify productivity “hot spots”, quantify their persistence through time, and assess habitat-specific long-term trends in primary production.  We derived a Frequency of Chlorophyll Peaks Index (FCPI) that was strongly associated with seabird abundance (from ship surveys) and residence time (from tracking studies) at varying temporal and spatial scales. Identifying important ecological areas reflecting enhanced productivity, energy transfer, and predator abundance is important to informing marine spatial planning and conservation, especially where direct survey data are lacking.



Farallon Institute for Advance Ecosystem Research, Petaluma, California


Publications and Reports:

Suryan, R.M., J.A. Santora, and W.J. Sydeman. 2012. New approach for using remotely-sensed chlorophyll a to identify seabird “hotspots.” Marine Ecology Progress Series 451:213-225, doi: 10.3354/meps09597

 Suryan, R.M. and W.J. Sydeman. 2007. Biological "hotspots" in the California Current as revealed by satellite imagery of primary productivity: Implications for design of a marine protected area network. Report to the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.