2016 NPS Marine BioBlitz

We led a marine component of the National Parks Service’s BioBlitz 2016. The NPS, partnering with The National Geographic Society, is hosting BioBlitzes around the country in celebration of the NPS’s Centennial. The Marine Biodiversity Center of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in conjuction with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, hosted a marine BioBlitz:
   Location: Malibu Pier, Malibu CA
   Dates: Monday 16 May 2016 and Thursday 19 May 2016
   Times: 10:00am to 1:00pm each day

Our emphasis was on the astonishingly diverse community of animals that live on hard surfaces in the near shore environment — in this case, pier pilings.

We had research biologists in the water collecting animals from the pilings, and fourth-graders from invited schools sorted the incoming material and learned a bit about the diversity of the coastal environment.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to NHM’s own Edgar Chamorro, here’s a wrap-up video to give you a brief impression of the fun we all had at Malibu Pier.


Photos from the event show the NPS staff, NHM researchers, NatureBridge staff and the wonderful students at work on the pier piling diversity. Please take a look!

Day 1 Report

Day 1 was great! We had a great experience with the fourth-grade students from Independence Elementary and Magnet School in Southgate, and collected a broad variety of invertebrate specimens (identifications are ongoing in the lab). But meanwhile — here’s underwater video of the collecting we did, and some beautiful footage showing the biota along entire lengths of piling. You’ll notice immediately that diving on Malibu Pier is not exactly blue-water diving!

Day 2 Report

Day 2 was equally great! Collecting in the morning was rough. The surge was high enough that underwater video would have been near-impossible. We got a bit beaten up on the pilings, but still collected plenty of invertebrates for the students to sort and for us to save for sequencing. Students from El Sereno Elementary got to see a huge variety of animals: bryozoans, bivalves, gastropods, nudibranchs, sea stars, and more!

James Bailey volunteered to come out with us and did an extraordinary job of photographing organisms in the field and posting them to iNaturalist. Definitely check out his postings to get a taste of the variety of life we encountered from the Malibu Pier pilings!

Genetic Barcoding

A particularly exciting aspect of this marine BioBlitz is that the specimens that are collected will be used to help build a genetic barcode library of the marine invertebrates of Southern California. Barcoding is a modern technique that permits species to be identified by tiny tissue samples, based on a short sequence of DNA in the specimen’s cells. For that technique to work, however, a reference library of DNA sequences has to be populated from reliably-identifed reference specimens.

The specimens from this BioBlitz are contributing directly to the NHM’s Diversity Initiative for the Southern Ocean project, which aims to get barcode sequences for all the marine invertebrates of the Southern California shore.

Thanks to support from the National Parks Service, we will be able to use the marine specimens from this Malibu Pier BioBlitz survey to help populate the DNA reference database.

Educational Materials

The educational mission of this BioBlitz is targeted at Fourth Graders (consistent with the National Parks Service Every Kid in a Park program for 2016). Educational materials for the classes of Fourth Graders visiting the Malibu Pier BioBlitz are attached here — feel free to copy and use them!

Research Results

At the BioBlitz, we collected specimens from the pier pilings. Some of these were identified on site, many were identified in the lab following the event, and some are out on loan to taxonomists for final determination.

The following table is a preliminary list of taxa found on the BioBlitz. Leslie Harris (Natural History Museum Collections Manager of Polychaetes) was responsible for assembling this list (and performing most of the determinations).

Updated 6 June 2016.

NHMLAC specimenIdentificationComments
AnnelidaPolychaetaCapitellidaeCapitella capitata CmplxLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaChaetopteridaeChaetopterus variopedatus complexJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisparchment tube worm
AnnelidaPolychaetaChaetopteridaePhyllochaetopterus socialisLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaChrysopetalidaePaleanotus bellisLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaCirratulidaeCirriformiaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaCirratulidaeProtocirrineris Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaCirratulidaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaCtenodrilidaeCtenodrilus spLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaEunicidaePalola paloidesJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaGlyceridaeGlycera Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaHesionidaeOxydromus pugettensisJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisbat star worm
AnnelidaPolychaetaLumbrineridaeScoletomaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaLumbrineridaeScoletoma erecta Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaMaldanidaeEuclymeninaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaNereididaeNereis James Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaNereididaeNereis latescensLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaNereididaeNereis mediatorLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaNereididaePlatynereis bicanaliculataJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaOenonidaeArabella semimaculataJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaOpheliidaePolyophthalmus pictus CmplxLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaOrbiniidaeNaineris dendriticaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaeta (Sipuncula)PhascolosomatidaePhascolosoma agassiziiLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPhyllodocidaeEulalia quadrioculataLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPhyllodocidaeEulalia sp 11Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPhyllodocidaeNereiphyllaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPhyllodocidaePhyllodoce medipapillataJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPhyllodocidaePterocirrus burtoniLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPolynoidaeHalosydna brevisetosaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPolynoidaeHalosydna johnsoniJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPolynoidaeHarmothoe hirsutaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaPolynoidaeThormora johnstoniLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellariidaePhragmatopoma californicaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellidaeEudistylia polymorphaLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellidaeMegalomma coloratumJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellidaeParadialychone ecaudataLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellidaeParasabella ?fulloLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSabellidaeSabellidae (pale yellow radioles)Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaScalibregmatidaeHyboscolex pacificusLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaScalibregmatidaeHyboscolex?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSerpulidae Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSerpulidaeCrucigera zygophoraLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSpionidaePolydorinaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSpirorbidae Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeAutolytinae, orangeJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeEpigamia noroi Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeEpigamia noroi?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeEusyllis single lineLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeEusyllis sp 17 James Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeEusyllis sp 17?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeExogoneLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeOdontosyllis phosphoreaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeOpisthosyllis leslieharrisaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeProceraea nigropunctataLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeProceraea okadaiLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeProceraea orangeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeSalvatoriaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeSphaerosyllis Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeSyllides reishi Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeSyllinaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeSyllis gracilis complexLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeTrypanosyllisLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaSyllidaeTyposyllisLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaTerebellidaeNicolea sp AJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaTerebellidaePolycirrusLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
AnnelidaPolychaetaTerebellidaeThelepinaeJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaAlpheus clamatorJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaAmpeliscaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaamphipods James Bailey & Leslie HarrisxKathy OmuraLH: at least 10 species
ArthropodaCrustaceaAmpithoe plumosaLeslie HarrisxKathy Omura
ArthropodaCrustaceaAmpithoe spLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaBalanus glandulaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaCancer or Metacarcinus spLeslie HarrisKathy Omuracarapace on beach
ArthropodaCrustaceaCaprella californicaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
ArthropodaCrustaceaCaprellia verrucosaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
ArthropodaCrustaceaCorophiidaeLeslie HarrisxD. Cadien from photo
ArthropodaCrustaceaChthamalus dalliLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaGnathia ?crenulatifronsLeslie Harrisx T. Phillips from photo
ArthropodaCrustaceaHeptacarpus ?sitchensisJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisred-banded transparent shrimp
ArthropodaCrustaceaIaniropsis ?tridensLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
ArthropodaCrustaceaisopodsLeslie HarrisKathy OmuraLH: at least 4 species
ArthropodaCrustaceaJassaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photomarmorata or falcata
ArthropodaCrustaceaLimnoria?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaMegabalanus californicusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisKathy Omura
ArthropodaCrustaceaMegalorchestia californianaJames BaileyJames Bailey
ArthropodaCrustaceamunnidaeLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaPagurus samuelisKathy OmuraLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaPanulirus interruptusLeslie HarrisKathy Omuracarapace on beach
ArthropodaCrustaceaPelia tumidaLeslie HarrisxG. Jensen from phototeardrop crab
ArthropodaCrustaceaPilumnus spinohirsutusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaPodocerusLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaPollicipes polymerusLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisgooseneck barnacle
ArthropodaCrustaceaPugettia dalli?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaScyra acutifronsLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaTetraclita rubescensLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
ArthropodaCrustaceaZeuxo ?Leslie HarrisxT. Cadien from photo
ArthropodaInsectaChersodromiaJames BaileyJames Bailey
ArthropodaInsectaCoelopa vanduzeeiJames BaileyJames Bailey
ArthropodaInsectaErigoninaeJames BaileyJames Baileymoney spiders
ArthropodaInsectaFucellia rufitibiaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileykelp fly
ArthropodaInsectaHippodamia convergensJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileyconvergent lady beetle
ArthropodaInsectakelp fliesLeslie HarrisJames Bailey
ArthropodaInsectaRhopalidaeJames BaileyJames Baileyscentless plant bugs
ArthropodaInsectaTelmatogetonJames BaileyJames Bailey
ArthropodaPycnogonidaPycnogonidaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Bryozoabryozoa “bamboo”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harrisdelicate, white, black nodes between segments
Bryozoabryozoa “reddish-brown”Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
Bryozoabryozoa “short staghorn”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Bryozoabryozoa “white”Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
BryozoaCelleporariaLeslie Harris Leslie Harris
BryozoaCellaria diffusaLeslie HarrisxD. Cadien from photo
BryozoaMembranipora tuberculataLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ChordataSauropsidaAnas platyrhynchosLeslie HarrisJames Baileymallard
ChordataSauropsidaArdea herodiasJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileygreat blue heron
ChordataSauropsidaColumba liviaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileyrock pigeon
ChordataSauropsidaHaematopus bachmaniJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileyblack oystercatcher
ChordataSauropsidaHimantopus mexicanusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileyblack-necked stilt
ChordataSauropsidaPhalacrocorax auritusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileydouble-crested cormorant
ChordataSauropsidaSayornis nigricansJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileyblack phoebe
ChordataSynapsidaThomomys bottaeJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames BaileyBotta's pocket gopher
ChordataTunicataAplidium californica or Cystodytes lobatus?James Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ChordataTunicataDidemnum ?carnulentum Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
ChordataTunicataStyela montereyensis?Leslie Harris Leslie Harris
ChordataTunicatatunicate “orange encrusting”Leslie HarrisxKathy Omura
ChordataTunicataStyela or PyuraLeslie HarrisxKathy Omurashort, orange-pink solitary; need to dissect for id
CnidariaAnthozoaAnthopleura xanthogrammicaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
CnidariaAnthozoaAnthopleura elegantissimaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harrisbeach
CnidariaAnthozoaMuricea californicaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie HarrisCalifornia golden gorgonian
CnidariaHydrozoaAbietinariaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Cnidaria?Hydrozoa?Hydractiniidae? Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisencrusting ends of Chaetopterus & vermetid tubes
EchinodermataAsteroideaPisaster ochraceusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisLeslie Harrisochre sea star
EchinodermataOphiuroideaOphiothrix spiculataLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
EchinodermataOphiuroideaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
MolluscaBivalviaHiatella arcticaLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
MolluscaBivalviaLeptopecten latiauratusLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
MolluscaBivalviaLeukoma staminaLeslie HarrisLindsey Grovesshell on beach; Pacific little neck clam
MolluscaBivalviaMytilus edulis/galloprovincialis/ trossulus groupJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrissmooth shells without radial ridges
MolluscaBivalviarock oysterLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
MolluscaBivalviaround clamLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
MolluscaGastropodaAplysia californicaLeslie HarrisxKathy Omura
MolluscaGastropodaAplysia vaccariaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
MolluscaGastropodaBulla gouldianaLeslie Harris & Kathy OmuraLindsey Grovesin tidepools & shells on beach
MolluscaGastropodaCaliforniconus californicusKathy OmuraLindsey Groveson beach
MolluscaGastropodaDoriopsilla albopunctata groupJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harriswhite spotted sea goddess
MolluscaGastropodaDoto amyraJames Bailey & Leslie Harris James Bailey
MolluscaGastropodaFlabellina iodineaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
MolluscaGastropodaKelletia kelletiiLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
MolluscaGastropodaLirularia Kathy OmuraLindsey Groveson beach
MolluscaGastropodalimpet “strongly curved”Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisjuveniles
MolluscaGastropodalimpetsJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxKathy Omurajuveniles
MolluscaGastropodaLottia?Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisjuveniles
MolluscaGastropodaMaxwellia gemmaKathy OmuraLindsey Grovesshell on beach
MolluscaGastropodaNeobernaya spadiceaLeslie HarrisLindsey Grovesshell on beach
MolluscaGastropodaNorrisia norrisiiLeslie HarrisLeslie Harrisshell on beach
MolluscaGastropodasnailLeslie HarrisxLeslie Harris
MolluscaGastropodaTegula funebralisKathy OmuraLindsey Groveson beach
MolluscaGastropodaThylacodes squamigerusJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxLeslie Harrisscaled worm snail
NemerteaLineus pictafronsLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
NemerteaNemerteaJames Bailey & Leslie Harris Leslie Harris
NemerteaParanemertes peregrinaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
NemerteaTubulanus sexlineatusLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
PlatyhelminthesPolycladidaEnchiridium punctatumLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
PlatyhelminthesPolycladidaHoploplana californicaLeslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
PlatyhelminthesPolycladidaNotocomplana acticolaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
PlatyhelminthesPolycladidaStylochus nspJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisxT. Phillips from photo
Poriferasponge “orange”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Poriferasponge “purple-brown”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Poriferasponge “white”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Poriferasponge “yellow boring”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Poriferasponge “yellow”Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Plants and algae
NHMLAC specimenIdentificationComments
HeterokontophytaBacillariophyceaeDiatomsLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
Phaeophyta Macrocystis pyriferaLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
PhaeophytaColpomenia sinuosaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisLeslie Harrispuffball brown alga
PhaeophytaEctocarpoid fuzzLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
PhaeophytaEgregia menziesiiLeslie HarrisLeslie Harrison beach
PhaeophytaSargassum muticumJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisLeslie Harrisjapanese wireweed
Rhodophyta Gelidium robustumLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaAcrosorium ciliolatumJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaCentroceras clavulatumLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaChondracanthus canaliculatusLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaCorallina officinalis var. chilensisLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaCryptopleuraLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaGelidium coulteriLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaGymnogongrus platyphyllusLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaMastocarpus papillatusLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaMazzaella leptorhynchosLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
RhodophytaSmithora naiadumLeslie HarrisLeslie Harris
PlantaeCakile maritimaJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames BaileyEuropean searocket
PlantaeCarpobrotus edulisLeslie HarrisJames Baileysea fig
PlantaeChenopodium muraleJames BaileyJames Baileynettle-leaved goosefoot
PlantaeDatura wrightiiLeslie HarrisJames Baileyon beach
PlantaeEriogonum parvifoliumJames BaileyJames Baileyseacliff wild buckwheat
PlantaeEuphorbia serpensJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileymatted sandmat
PlantaePhyllospadix torreyiLeslie HarrisJames Baileysurf grass
PlantaePolygonum aviculareJames Bailey & Leslie HarrisJames Baileycommon knotgrass

Partners and Acknowledgements