Feb. 21, 2008

Two of Lenihan's Research Projects Noted for Novel Approaches and Findings

Ongoing research in which Bren Associate Professor Hunter Lenihan, researcher Matt Kay, UCSB graduate students, and other UCSB researchers have partnered with local lobster fisherman has received widespread media attention recently. The CALobster project ( is unique in that it brings together scientists and stakeholders – managers, environmental groups, the public, and spiny lobster fishermen in particular – to develop new forms of ecosystem-based fishery management, which include marine protected areas in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The underlying principle of the CALobster project, says Lenihan, is "to develop community-based management of local fisheries."

Fishing communities have frequently been at odds with researchers and environmentalists, so the cooperation among the various groups involved is extraordinary. "A high degree of interaction among various stakeholders is critical to sustain local fisheries, working harbors, fishing communities, and the populations of marine organisms that support them," Lenihan says. "Of course, this program also depends on high-quality science, and the interation among stakeholders will improve the quality of the science."

The latest story to emerge about the project aired Feb. 19 on KCLU, the radio station of Cal Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Feb. 19. The roughly five-minute piece features interviews with Lenihan and others involved in the research. To hear the broadcast, go to and scroll down to the item titled: "Calobster project gives insight into impacts of marine reserves." UCSB University Advancement also circulated a story about the spiny lobster research on Feb. 7.

Lenihan was also part of a research team that conducted the first global-scale study of human influence on marine ecosystems and found that more than 40 percent of the world's oceans are heavily impacted by human activities. The group, whose work was published in the February 14 issue of Science, overlaid maps of 17 different elements that affect oceans, ranging from fishing to pollution and climate change. The complete release can be found here.