A Sea Star-Studded Day for Citizen-Science

May 4, 2016 — Citizen Science Coordinator Catherine Hoffman basks in post-BioBlitz bliss after our wildly successful “Blitz the Bay” event in Malibu. Missed out? No worries! Join us for the next one on May 14 in the Ballona Wetlands.

Last Saturday, over 80 people joined us at Malibu Lagoon for our first-ever BioBlitz! These citizen-scientists came from across Los Angeles to help us document the biodiversity of Malibu Lagoon. Since Southern California has lost over 95% of its wetlands, it is crucial to document the flora and fauna that depend on the wetlands we have left.

Using, the iNaturalist smartphone app, our gang of naturalists recorded a whopping 619 observations of 130 species! From birds to plants to a plethora of marine invertebrates, all of these living things rely on a healthy, functioning wetland habitat to call home.

One of the most popular finds of the day was the black sea hare, the largest marine gastropod (below left). We had 18 black sea hare observations from our group! It was also rewarding to see California brown pelicans dotting the sky: Their presence indicates that the wetland is a healthy stopover for coastal birds (below center). Finally, the tiniest (and probably cutest) observation was the colorful bat star (below right).

Check out pictures from the day on Facebook.

Black Sea Hare by iNaturalist user @KellyVaughnBrown Pelican by iNaturalist user @glmoryBat Star by iNaturalist user @chris49

Want to get in on the BioBlitzing bonanza? Join us for Blitz the Bay at Ballona Wetlands on May 14. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore L.A.’s largest remaining wetlands, which are usually closed to the public.

RSVP today!