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Research Technical Report

Species Inventory of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Buhl, J.S., V.L. Zelinski, B. Yarbrough, S.I. Lonhart, and C. Caldow (November 2020)

Oral presentation at the Western Society of Naturalists Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2020, Virtual Meeting


The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) is a region of incredible biodiversity off the coast of Southern California. Designated as a sanctuary in 1980, these islands lie at the confluence of the California Current coming from the north and the Southern California Counter Current from the south. It is both the southernmost range endpoint for some species and the northernmost for others. Despite being a heavily studied region, the sanctuary lacks a comprehensive inventory of all the species inhabiting the waters. This year, CINMS joined the west coast wide multi-year effort to inventory all of the species in the sanctuaries. Being aware of the species residing in the sanctuary will provide critical information to support a variety of sanctuary resource assessment needs: protecting sensitive habitats home to rare species, separating native and non-native species, quantifying climate change impacts, as well as identifying data gaps in our knowledge for future research. The use of a standardized methodology involving literature reviews, working with local natural history museum collections, and discussions with taxonomic experts allows this effort to be exportable to other sites throughout both the sanctuary system and other regions of biological significance. The CINMS inventory is currently a work in progress with already 3612 species documented from 24 different phyla.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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