Ichthyoplankton Projects and Publications


The CalCOFI ichthyoplankton abundance data also are published at approximately yearly intervals as NMFS Technical Memos, and the data have provided the basis for numerous papers published in a variety of scientific journals. The many advances in fish egg and larval identification made in the larval lab over the years have been documented in a descriptive atlas: Moser, H. G. (ed.) 1996. The early stages of fishes in the California Current region. CalCOFI Atlas 33. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas. 1505 pp.


In addition to the CalCOFI surveys and Fisheries Resources Division (FRD) resource surveys such as the annual Pacific Sardine biomass cruise, larval lab personnel participate in, and/or analyze the resulting plankton samples from a variety of other research programs such as: the Southern California Nearshore Ichthyoplankton survey (2004-2005), the Cowcod Conservation Area high resolution ichthyoplankton and oceanographic surveys (2002-2005) and the Marine Ecological Reserves survey (1998-1999). These surveys provide an efficient and cost-effective means for monitoring abundance trends of cowcod, bocaccio, and other fishes in non-routinely trawled or untrawlable areas.


Marine Ecological Reserves Research Project ( MERRP) 1998-1999

A study of the distribution and abundance of ichthyoplankton relative to adult habitat in the vicinities of two coastal marine reserves and two sites in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary off southern California (for example, see Watson et al., 1999, CalCOFI Reports 43:141-154).

Cowcod rockfish

Cowcod Conservation Area Baseline Study 2002-2005

A high resolution survey of the Cowcod Conservation Area off southern California, done to establish baseline abundance levels of Cowcod rockfish larvae and adults.

Inshore project

Nearshore Ichthyoplankton Survey 2004-2005

A survey of ichthyoplankton in shallow coastal waters (8-75 m depth range) at four southern California sites, reoccupying sampling stations last surveyed during the 1980’s (see Lavenberg et al. 1986, CalCOFI Reports 27:53-64), done to estimate the degree of change in the fish fauna near shore during the ~20 years between surveys, and to provide more information on eggs and larvae of nearshore fishes than is available from the standard CalCOFI sampling grid.

Market squid paralarvae

Market Squid Paralarval Time Series 1978-present

A retrospective analysis of CalCOFI surface (Manta) plankton samples archived at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Pelagic Invertebrates Collection, done to develop a time series of paralarval Market Squid abundance off southern California from 1978 to the present, which potentially will be useful in support of fishery management.

Photo of research vessel David Starr Jordan and link to its web page

Marine Mammal and Turtle Division ( PRD) Cetacean and Ecosystem Surveys

Biological/oceanographic surveys conducted in the eastern tropical Pacific, central Pacific, and west coast EEZ of the United States for the purposes of assessing the distribution and abundance of marine mammals and characterizing the marine ecosystem in which they live. The ichthyoplankton abundance data also are published at irregular intervals as NMFS Technical Memos.

Last modified: 12/24/2014