Rikk Kvitek is a Professor in the Division of Science and Environmental Policy, CSU Monterey Bay, where he directs the CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab (SFML). Dr. Kvitek obtained his Bachelor of Science in zoology from the University of Michigan, a Masters of Science at Moss Landing Marine Labs, and PhD in zoology from the University of Washington. His research with whales, sea otters, walrus, sea birds, fish, ice bergs, submarine canyons and numerous invertebrates from the Arctic to the Antarctic has brought novel insights to the fields of benthic ecology, seafloor disturbance, habitat mapping and species relations, and the effects of harmful algal bloom toxins in marine food chains. Beginning with SCUBA, Dr. Kvitek quickly realized that detailed birds-eye views of the seafloor could do for marine research what aerial photography had done for terrestrial studies, and now specializes in bringing seafloor habitats to life with high resolution remote sensing and 3D visualization.
The CSUMB Seafloor Mapping Lab (SFML), founded by Dr. Kvitek in 1999, specializes in high-resolution acoustic and optical remote sensing of coastal habitats. Combining research and education with state-of-the-art geospatial technology, the SFML offers unique hands-on, field-to-finish experience to students while conducting professional habitat mapping surveys for geomorphic visualization and changed detection to address critical resource management issues and advance basic research along the continental margins. This work led to the creation of the $24m California Seafloor Mapping Project (CSMP): a California Ocean Protection Council sponsored multi-institutional public/private collaborative formed for the comprehensive fine-scale mapping of all California state waters.