Principal Scientists:

  Dean Wendt, PhD
  Mark Moline, PhD
  Lars Tomaneck, PhD
For more information contact:

  Melissa Locke, JD

Climate Change


The Morro Bay estuary and coastal communities throughout the world could face many challenges as the result of global climate change in years to come, including the increasing severity of storms, erosion of the coastline, declining wildlife habitats and poor water quality.

Meeting these challenges will require better scientific understanding of climate change and greater collaboration between scientists, residents, resource managers and local governments to shape concrete policies.

California is already a leader in addressing climate change. We now need a more comprehensive understanding of the ripple effects of climate change at a local level.

SLOSEA's Approach:

Because the San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance (SLOSEA) has detailed data about water quality and the relationship between the land and sea, Morro Bay will be a unique laboratory for looking at the local impacts of climate change for other coastal communities.

With additional resources to apply these data and understand the local effects of climate change, SLOSEA will conduct the following projects:

  • Simulate the concrete effects of climate change at a localized level.
  • Predict the effects of sea level change on the estuary.
  • Evaluate how climate change will affect the levels and impact of pollution.
  • Translate the effects of ocean acidification, oxygen depletion and pollution on key estuarine habitats and species.
  • Provide a synthesis of local impacts of climate change to policymakers.
  • Use research findings to prioritize local planning actions to address these challenges.

Strong local policies and effective plans will enable coastal communities to be proactive in managing the effects of climate change. The lessons learned and tools developed on the Central Coast will be available to other coastal communities in California and elsewhere.