Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Hesham El-Askary


This study examines the mechanisms of El Niño to further understand the ecological effects it may have along the Californian and Peruvian coasts. El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). While it is a global phenomenon, these two locations were investigated for their nearly equal and opposite conditions during storm months. California, which is in an extreme state of drought, often receives heavy rainfall during El Niño and understanding its potential effects is crucial. El Niño causes upwellings along the CA coast and warm water from the region displaces the normally cool waters along the coast of Peru. Upwellings are cold, nutrient dense currents of water. The flux of nutrients in the two regions of study was examined, along with the sea surface temperature and Chlorophyll a Concentration to see any correlation with El Niño events and indications of increased marine life. Using Remote Sensing, both regions were looked at for a span of several years while focusing on the El Niño event during the 2009-2010 storm season. Findings were inconclusive and could not be used to support or disprove the hypothesized result in that there would be evidence that El Niño’s upwellings can have a significant effect on marine life through bottom-up effects on the ecosystem.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.