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Marine Biology Graduate Student Association

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Sam Ginther

Sam Ginther

Fish Ecology Lab
Department of Biology
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8303

Education: B.S. Aquatic Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

M.S. Thesis: Sargassum horneri impacts on kelp forest fishes of Santa Catalina Island, California, USA

Native to northeastern Asia, Sargassum horneri was first discovered in Long Beach Habor, California, USA in 2003 and at Santa Catalina Island, California, USA in 2006. S. horneri has been found to be associated with other native California seaweeds. Similar to its already established invasive relative, Sargassum muticum, S. horneri appears to be well adapted for widespread dispersal and has the ability to self-fertilize, making this introduced alga a potential competitor against native algal species. Although not all exotic species are ecologically harmful, S. horneri has shown the potential to outcompete marine flora that play a critical role in the community structure of fishes. However, as a recently established species, the effect of S. horneri on California kelp forest fishes has not been well studied. 

Fish and seaweed

My study aims to understand the impacts of varying densities of S. horneri on assemblages, feeding behavior, and survival of fishes at Santa Catalina Island, California, USA. As this alga has the potential to drastically alter native fish habitats, notably Macrocystis pyrifera, my study will provide insight on how an invasive alga can alter fish community structure and will improve management actions during future invasive events.