Mia J. Tegner, Ph.D.

Award Year


Before she died, Mia J. Tegner's scientific career centered on kelp forest ecology and nearshore marine resources. For more than 20 years, she was a senior research ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where her studies of the interacting roles of important species and their fisheries in structuring the kelp community contributed to the management of sea urchin and abalone fisheries. Tegner applied her Pew fellowship to develop an ecosystem approach to fisheries management for kelp forest species that takes into account the changing environment. She used a combination of laboratory and field studies to look at the effects of climate on abalone reproduction, recruitment, and size-frequency distributions. Following Tegner's death, her colleague Paul Dayton took the initiative to complete the fellowship for her. He concluded that green abalones illustrated different and almost opposite trends to El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events than red abalone. They showed a much stronger resistance to the onset of withering syndrome. These differences among species from different habitats in kelp forests concur with Dayton's hypothesis that California abalone's reproductive success, growth, and survival correlate with environmental conditions. Results and trends from the project demonstrate that the shifts among El Ninos, La Ninas, and normal conditions will cause changes in the status of the remaining wild populations of abalone along the Southern California coast.

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