The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is leading the Los Angeles Urban Ocean Expedition from Monday, Aug. 19, through Monday, Sept. 2.
Led by NHM’s Marine Biodiversity Center, the project is an intensive biodiversity expedition to the coastal waters of the southern Palos Verdes peninsula shelf, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Headquartered at AltaSea in San Pedro, the project will bring together the best biologists to collect, identify, curate and DNA barcode as many species as possible to dramatically improve knowledge of Southern California marine biodiversity.
The project aims to significantly increase the library of DNA barcode reference sequences at NHM’s Marine Biodiversity Center, making it possible to use environmental DNA as a biodiversity exploration tool in the coastal waters surrounding Los Angeles. E-DNA will be used to test for the presence of certain species without having to physically collect or see specimens, making it an easier, faster and more affordable to study species abundance and change over time.
Partners in the expedition include AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, Aquarium of the Pacific, Braid Theory, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, California Science Center, Ocean Exploration Trust and E/V Nautilus, Smithsonian Institution, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, USC Sea Grant and Western Association of Marine Labs. NHM will hold an open house for the public on the expedition on Saturday, Aug. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at AltaSea, 2456 Signal St., San Pedro. Learn about the collection, live-identification and DNA barcode process, and meet some of the scientists. Admission is free.
The public can also embark on a journey aboard a double-decker yacht with an Aquarium of the Pacific naturalist on Aug. 24, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Visit one of the most distinctive sections of the local coastline and experience the wonders of the ocean near Long Beach and San Pedro. Participants will sail through local ports and see wildlife that dwells above and at the ocean’s surface. Passengers will also learn how the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County studies the biodiversity of the waters off the coast. Cruise-only adult admission is $30; $20 for children. Cruise and aquarium admission is $39.95 for adults, $15 for children.
On Sunday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon, join NHM scientists and experts for a family-oriented L.A. Urban Ocean Expedition boat trip. The program that engages families in oceanographic research, nautical science and seamanship aboard the 129-foot sailing research vessel, American Pride. Guests will conduct marine science research techniques, as well as collections and sorting methods under the guidance of NHM scientists and educators. Admission is free with RSVP, and limited to 35 participants ages 6 and older.
For information, visit nhm.org/los-angeles-urban-ocean-expedition.
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