Scientists awarded grants to study Santa Barbara coastal ecosystem vulnerability

  • 4 February 2014

Researchers from California's leading climatological and ecological programs received two grants totaling more than $278,000 from CPO's Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) program and NOAA Sea Grant to conduct a coastal ecosystem vulnerability assessment in the Santa Barbara area, California Sea Grant announced Tuesday, Feb. 4. 

"This vulnerability assessment will contribute to resilient ecosystems by providing information that coastal communities can use to plan for climate change impacts," said  Monique Myers, lead investigator and California Sea Grant extension specialist.

Formally titled the "Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment," the researchers will work with city and county partners to develop a guidance document that informs climate adaptation planning. The document also will detail the process used to create an ecosystem-based vulnerability assessment so it will be useful in other regions.

Though some coastal areas are currently developing climate change vulnerability assessments with an emphasis on infrastructure and physical environments, this work will specifically address impacts to ecological resources and adaptation measures for local government in the Santa Barbara region. 

The assessment will address the dual missions of NOAA and NOAA Sea Grant, focusing on effective response to climate change and enhanced sustainability and resilience of ecosystems and coastal communities.

The final planning guidance document is expected to be available on the California Sea Grant website in 2015.

Myers' co-investigators on the grant are Jenifer E. Dugan of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, John M. Melack of Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB, Henry M. Page of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Daniel Reed of Marine Science Institute, UCSB, Daniel R. Cayan of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, and Sam F. Iacobellis of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. Patrick Barnard of USGS is a collaborator.



Climate and Fisheries Adaptation Program (CAFA)

MISSION: The Climate and Fisheries Adaptation Program (CAFA) is a partnership between the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (NOAA Research) Climate Program Office, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Office of Science and Technology that supports targeted research to promote adaptation and resilience of the nation's valuable fisheries and fisheries-dependent communities in a changing climate. By bringing together NOAA scientists with many partners, CAFA addresses priority needs for information and tools identified in the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science StrategyRegional Action Plans, and other sources.  

ISSUE: Healthy fisheries are a significant component of the U.S. economy. Commercial and recreational marine fisheries generate over $200 billion in economic activity and support more than 1.8 million jobs annually (FEUS 2016). Fisheries also support working waterfronts and coastal communities, provide opportunities for commerce, are tied to rich cultures, and help meet the growing demand for seafood across the U.S. and the world.

Climate change is impacting fish stocks, fisheries, and fishing communities, and these impacts are expected to increase. Changing climate and ocean conditions (e.g. warming oceans, changing currents, coastal inundation, extreme events, etc.) can affect the abundance, distribution, and productivity of fish stocks that support economically important fisheries. Sustainable fisheries management requires an improved understanding of how climate, fishing, and other stressors interact to affect fish stocks (including their habitats and prey), fisheries and fishing-dependent communities.  

PROGRAM HISTORY: The CAFA Program was established by the NOAA Research Climate Program Office and the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology in 2014 to advance understanding of climate‐related impacts on fish stocks, fisheries and fishing communities. The partnership originated through the former Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications (COCA) Program and in 2021 was renamed the Climate and Fisheries Adaptation (CAFA) Program as part of the Climate Program Office Adaptation Sciences Program.

SPONSORS: Funding for the CAFA Program comes from the OAR Climate Program Office and the NMFS Office of Science and Technology, the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. 




CAFA PI Spotlight



Contact Us


Jennifer Dopkowski
NOAA Research
Climate Program Office
P: (301) 734-1261

Roger Griffis
NOAA Fisheries
Office of Science and Technology

P: (301) 427-8134


1315 East-West Highway Suite 100
Silver Spring, MD 20910


Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather.