There are crucial connections between physical attributes of the ocean environment and its rich biology, particularly in a kelp forest system, where sea floor communities link intimately with water column processes. Abiotic factors, such as temperature, chemical composition, physical habitat complexity, and wave intensity are immediately and measurably changing as our environment and oceans respond to climate change. Examining the influences of these quantifiable factors on biological communities enables scientists such as myself to maximize the impact and application of the results. The ecological processes that drive diversity, population connectivity, and community structure in California’s rocky reef system occur across a range of spatial scales and regions (i.e., inshore and offshore). In collaboration with an ongoing kelp forest restoration project, I am investigating context-dependent succession and the effects and influence of hydrodynamic changes across an inter-annual spectrum.