9th California Islands Symposium October 3-7, 2016

Ventura Beach Marriott, Ventura, California




View our Conference App: Agenda, Sponsors, Speaker Bios, and more!

Location:  Ventura Beach Marriott (map and directions)

 On-site Registration (After August 2, 2016)

Full (3-Day) = $250

1-Day = $90

Student and K-12 Educator (3-day)= $80

Each registrant will get their choice of a 2017 California Islands Calendar or Travel Mug


Pre-meeting Workshop

Island ReDiscovery (Monday October 3, 10am -5 pm)


Managers and scientists working on the islands of the Californias are invited to a multidisciplinary workshop to discuss whether we should be more concerted and perhaps more coordinated in conducting survey work on and around the islands– and in deploying emerging research technologies (in genetics, remote sensing, etc.) – in order to better understand past and current conditions and trends, so that we can make better informed conservation management decisions today and in the future.  The workshop will include presentations on new research technologies and break-out groups will discuss emerging issues. More information can be found here. Agenda to follow. 


Social Events

Monday, October 3

California Islands Art Exhibition (5-8 pm)

The California Islands Art Exhibition will be held at the Ventura Beach Marriott.  This exhibition will feature original that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of the California Islands. 


Tuesday, October 4

Poster Session and Reception (5:30 - 8 pm)

Heavy appetizers/light dinner will be provided at no charge to registered participants. A coupon for the first drink will also be provided to registered participants.

Film Night (6:30-9:00 pm)

The new documentary, West of the West: Tales from California’s Channel Islands, will be showed in a private screening at the Symposium. Produced by Sam Tyler and written and directed by Peter Seaman and Brent Sumner, the documentary provides an in-depth look into fourteen intriguing stories of island inhabitants, ranging from the first contact between Spanish explorers and the Island Chumash to the National Park Service’s efforts to restore the islands’ ecosystems. The filmmaking process was intensive, with nearly 80 days of filming over three years, extensive research, and dozens of interviews with scientists, historians, island dwellers, park rangers, representatives from Native American cultures, and others. The full documentary has been condensed into a 110-minute version which will be shown. The night will conclude with a Q&A session with the film’s producers. No charge. 


Wednesday, October 5 (6-9 pm)

Mediterranean Beach Dinner and Island Fox Delisting Celebration! (5:30-9 pm)  Social event at nearby San Buenaventura State Park and Beach (within walking distance).  Come out and celebrate with your peers and toast the fox recovery efforts! 

Catered Mediterranean food and drinks will be provided at no charge to registered participants. Additional guests are $20/person.


Thursday, October 6 (6-9 pm)

Banquet night

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will present their annual Pritzlaff Conservation Award to Daniel Simberloff in honor of his many contributions to conservation. Dr. Simberloff will then give a keynote address. Since his keynote address at the 4th California Islands Symposium, much has been accomplished! Please see his bio in the Plenary Speakers section. Learn more about the Pritzlaff Award. 

Dinner Cost: $40

Tickets are limited and can be purchased at Conference Registration


Questions?  Please contact the 9th California Islands Symposium Planning Committee: 


Plenary Speakers

Torben Rick

Dr. Torben Rick is currently Curator of Human Environmental Interactions and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Rick was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas from 2004-2008. Rick’s research focuses on the archaeology and historical ecology of coastal and island peoples, especially on the North American Pacific and Atlantic coasts. He has active field projects on California’s Channel Islands and the Chesapeake Bay, which are collaborative with researchers from a variety of disciplines (anthropology, biology, ecology, etc.) and focus on ancient and modern human environmental interactions.

Plenary Abstract

Insularity, the Seacoast, and the Archaeology of California’s Islands

Archaeological research around the world documents the deep history of human occupation of islands around the world and the ways that people’s lives were intertwined with island ecosystems and organisms. Drawing on examples from islands in the tropical Pacific, eastern Africa, southeast Asia, and Europe, this talk outlines the antiquity, colonization, and human ecology of islands from the late Pleistocene to the early 20th century. These examples and case studies provide context for understanding the archaeology and historical ecology of California’s islands. Ultimately, this record is used to help frame current interdisciplinary projects on the California Islands and the value of the human past to help better understand the present and prepare for the future. 


Kathleen Dean Moore

Kathleen Dean Moore is a philosopher, environmental advocate, and writer. As Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, she taught environmental ethics. But her growing alarm at the devastation of the planet led her to leave the university to speak out in defense of the lovely, reeling world. Her most recent book, Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change follows Moral Ground, testimony from the world’s moral leaders about our obligation to the future. Her award-winning books of nature essays celebrate and explore the meaning of the wet, wild world of rivers, islands, and tidal shores – Riverwalking, Holdfast, Pine Island ParadoxWild Comfort, and the forthcoming novel, Piano Tide. She writes from Corvallis, Oregon and from a small cabin where two creeks and a bear trail meet a tidal cove in Alaska.

Plenary Abstract

A New Geography of Hope: Sliding Baselines, Climate Change, and the Necessity of Protected Places

In our radically anthropocentric culture, sliding ecological baselines have resulted in sliding moral baselines, sliding baselines of the imagination, and sliding baselines of hope.  But protected places, parks and refuges, have the power to block all of these slides, every one. Because they model a new relationship to the natural world – one marked by restraint, respect, and spiritual and evolutionary kinship – protected places offer hope in the possibility of human and cultural transformation. 


Gretchen Hofmann

Dr. Gretchen Hofmann is a marine biologist and Professor at UC Santa Barbara whose research focuses on the responses of marine species to future ocean change such as ocean acidification and ocean warming. Working in places as diverse as the coastal oceans of California and Antarctic waters, Dr. Hofmann and her lab group are trying to understand whether and how marine species can adapt to future changes in the ocean. Studies in the lab focus on how organisms work in the face of these changes, whether species have the physiological flexibility to respond to future oceans and whether adaption is possible.  

Plenary Abstract

A horizon-scan of climate change impacts on the marine life of the Channel Islands: what can we expect?

            Recent research has highlighted the complexities of ocean change, with higher temperatures, deoxygenation, and ocean acidification colliding to create a multistressor scenario for the biota of the Channel.  Together these abiotic factors create a seawater environment that is both challenging to calcifying organisms (the OA component) and at certain times of day may create conditions that reach hypoxic levels for many fish and marine invertebrates (the deoxygenation component).

In this presentation, I will highlight results from ongoing field research and instrument deployments in the Santa Barbara Channel. Our data show strong biological effects, such as those found in kelp forest and eelgrass beds, on pH and oxygen levels. Our results indicate that large beds of macrophytes alter seawater chemistry, which could buffer acidification in the future. In addition, we have observed localized phytoplankton blooms that alter pH and oxygen levels leading to regional-scale differences in waters of the Channel Islands.  One thing that emerges from these datasets is that variation of pH and oxygen content in seawater occurs on a local scale and is likely to relevant to local management of coastal marine ecosystems, such as the Channel Islands, in a global change context.

The overall goal of my talk is to share some of the most recent data about what we are seeing in the Santa Barbara Channel now, what we can expect in the future, and how these patterns of changing environmental conditions might influence the biology of the Channel.


Daniel Simberloff

Daniel Simberloff is the Nancy Gore Hunger Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Tennessee.  His work on islands started in the 1960s when, as part of his PhD research at Harvard he and E.O. Wilson removed the insect and spider fauna of six small mangrove islands in Florida to study their re-colonization. His diverse research projects have included insects, plants, fungi, birds, and mammals.  His publications number ca. 500 and center on ecology, biogeography, evolution, and conservation biology, with titles such as “Today Tiritiri Matangi, tomorrow the world! Are we aiming too low in invasives control?” He has tackled complex topics such as invasion theory, policy, novel ecosystems, and single- vs. multi-species management. In 2006 he was named Eminent Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America, in 2012 he won the Margalef Prize for research in ecology, and in 2015 he won the Wallace Prize of the International Biogeography Society for lifetime contributions in the fields of island biogeography and island ecology.  Dr. Simberloff will be speaking about the global significance of restoration accomplishments on the Channel Islands and elsewhere, and what we might aim for going forward.

Plenary Abstract

Yes we can! – Exciting progress and prospects for controlling invasives on islands and beyond

Modern invasion biology is a very young field, beginning in the 1980s. Nevertheless, we now know of drastic ecological impacts of hundreds of invaders. They eat native species, overgrow them, outcompete them, infect them, hybridize with them, and have myriad other impacts, some of them subtle and delayed. Impacts that affect entire ecosystems have been increasingly documented, particularly as ecological research on aboveground-belowground interactions has proliferated. Islands have been especially devastated. This ecological hecatomb has led to massive efforts to prevent new invasions and control or eradicate existing ones. Several critics argue that we cannot do much about invasions in the face of globalization, so we should not waste resources trying.  However, successful projects (including eradications) are proliferating, especially on islands.  Larger islands occupied by multiple invaders are increasing targeted.  Islands have played a key role in improving existing techniques and developing new ones.  I will describe several striking projects and discuss evolving new approaches and ambitious goals as well as potential impediments.