Summer Science Shack!
This summer, every weekend, every Saturday and Sunday, each afternoon, come enjoy the nature of the Colorado Lagoon. From 1-5pm, Tidal Influence staff are at the Lagoon helping excited beach-goers understand that they are swimming in one of the most paid-attentioned-to wetlands in Southern California. This Lagoon is undergoing one of the most unprecedented restorations and the animals are responding to this activity. Tidal Influence is trying to share this with the thousands who enjoy it as a beach and a much-needed place to cool off during the hot summer days. Visit Alene, Matt, James and Cristina as they teach the kids about the fish and crabs and the adults about the water quality and biodiversity.
Two weeks ago there was a massive influx of Moon Jellies, Aurelia labiata, at the Colorado Lagoon! You can still see some of them if you walk across the bridge and look closely!
Moon Jellies are common along the California coast they feed on plankton in quite bays and harbors. They are circular, bell shaped, and translucent with short fine fringe (cilia). They swim horizontally, keeping the bell near the surface. The Moon Jellies sweep up their food with the cilia and store it in pouches until it gets digested by the oral arms. The color of the jelly often changes based on its diet. Although they Moon Jellies sting their prey, the sting poses a small threat to humans.
Scientists have determined that jellies reproduce best when the water has TOO many nutrients and too little oxygen. This unbalanced ecosystem can be common due to the run-off of water from land.
Many organisms depend on the Moon Jellies for food, such as tuna, sunfish, spiny dogfish, all seven species of sea turtles, and birds. Jellies are 90% water, therefore species that are dependent on jellies for food have to eat a lot! Unfortunately, drifting plastic bags look very similar and get mistakenly swallowed. Thousands of birds and turtles die each year from the mistaken
Monterey Bay Aquarium
By: Julie McNamara
On Friday October 25, the final quarterly beach seine was deployed for the Colorado Lagoon’s first year of
environmental monitoring. A beach seine is a method of fishing that uses a net
hung vertical in the water with the bottom edged weighted and the top buoyed by
floats. Seines have been used widely though out history and today scientists use
this method to help identify spatial and temporal changes in fish assemblages.
There are possible causes of observed changes in the assemblages with include
natural phenomena (climate), pollution, habitat degradation and restoration!
The Friday beach seine was deployed in three areas, two outside the
reserve and one with in the reserve. The first seine we caught tons of baby
California Killifish (Fundulus parvipinnis). This species is a coastal fish that occurs in shallow bays, estuaries
and marshes. They can tolerate a wide range of salinities, oxygen levels and pollution.
The second seine was inside the reserve, where we caught over 500 adult and baby
California Killifish! We also caught several Topsmelt (Atherinops affinis), this species is also common in estuaries and can tolerate drastic swings in water salinity! The most exciting surprise of this seine was the Two-spotted Octopus (Octopus
bimaculoides). This was the first octopus ever caught in one of Colorado Lagoon’s beach seines! Two-spotted
Octopus is named for its obvious blue spots located behind its eyes. They can grow up to a two foot arm span and the female can lay up to 150,000 eggs. They female will brood continuously for 2-4 months, she does not feed during this
time and then dies around hatching time. The young remain on the bottom after hatching and have a life span of 2-3 years!
The third beach seine deployed was across the bridge and we found a Striped Kelpfish (Gibbonsia metzi)! This species can be found in tide pools and kelp beds down to a depth of 9 meters.
Fridays beach seines and the previous seines in the Colorado Lagoon have laid the base line survey for future seines to be
Event Spotlight: Lagoon Afternoons
By Jade Dean
If you've had the chance to look at the event calendar for Friends of Colorado Lagoon, you've seen an event called Lagoon Afternoons that has an assortment of dates from October to December. Today, coincidentally, was the first one of the year! Lagoon Afternoons started in 2012 to provide an additional weekday opportunity for members of the community to assist our staff. Volunteers engage in a diverse amount of tasks that include: seed collection, watering, weeding, planting, and so much more.
Our event today was a huge success! We had 35 students from Wilson High School join us to water plants and collect seeds from Giant Wild Rye (Eleymus condensatus), Bladder Pod (Isomeris arborea), Purple Sage (Salvia luecophylla), White Sage (Salvia apiana), Mock Heather (Ericameria ericoides), and California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum). In exchange for their service, their teacher, Mr. Wille, awarded them extra credit. Don't worry, this event is not solely for students! We've also hosted businesses, like Wells Fargo, and had general members of the community join us for the afternoon.
Here are the remaining events for 2013: Thursdays from 3-5pm on 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5, 12/12. If you would like more details, click on the event calendar above, leave us a comment, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Mysterious Visitor
By Jade Dean
Over the past two weeks, several of our staff have observed a population of Pseudoceros in the Colorado Lagoon. Pseudoceros is a genus of flatworm. According to the Southern California Association of Marine Invertebrate Taxonomists (SCAMIT), there are two species of Pseudoceros that are found in the Southern California Bight: Pseudoceros mexicanus and Pseudoceros montereyensis.
Update: Thanks to SCAMIT, it has been positively identified as Pseudoceros bajae!
By Jade Dean
For California Coastal Cleanup Day, we had 45 volunteers at the Colorado Lagoon participate in several activities ranging from propagating salt marsh species to picking up trash along with removing non-native species from the median and participating in a beach seine.
Since Coastal Cleanup Day started in 1985, it has been reported that almost 15 million pieces of trash have been removed from the coastline and is considered the world's largest organized cleanup. Thanks to the ongoing restoration of the Colorado Lagoon, we did not have a lot of trash to pick up! The event was also attended by several community groups, such as the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, the CSULB Surfrider Chapter, the Long Beach Democrats, and several Long Beach Mayoral Candidates. We were also joined by a photographer from Long Beach's newest newspaper, the Long Beach Register. Check out our slideshow below to see the Register's photos of the event!
A Snapshot of the Past
By Jade Dean
After perusing the Long Beach Public Library's Photo Archive, I discovered photos of both Los Cerritos Wetlands and the Colorado Lagoon I had never seen before. Let us know which one is your favorite in the comments!
Los Cerritos Wetlands in 1945. The description reads: Looking southwest from Pacific Coast Highway and San Gabriel River. 2nd Street Bridge, Naples, Alamitos Bay bridge, trestle bridge, and 7th Street bridge visible. Alamitos Peninsula is in the background, from right to left. Photo taken for Long Beach City Engineer office.
By Jade Dean
What on earth is a diurnal raptor? It is a raptor (the bird, not the dinosaur) that is active during the day. Chances are, you have seen these birds around your neighborhood soaring above the treeline or perching on a telephone pole. Diurnal raptors include 34 species, such as the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Northern Goshawk. Some of the species found at the Los Cerritos Wetlands and Colorado Lagoon include:
Let us know which of these diurnal raptors you have seen in your neighborhood in the comment section!
By Megan Roy
These pictures show the transformation of the East Bank of the lagoon form invasive iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis) to native wetland and coastal sage scrub species. The conversion is remarkable!
By Jade Dean
In case you have not noticed, the public events we co-host with our non-profit partners only last two hours. Why is that? Simply put, it is because we can get an astonishing amount of work done with a group of volunteers during that time. Don't believe us? Click "Read More" to see how much we can accomplish with some sweat, determination, and members of the community!
Here, we share.