WILDCOAST – A voice for the coast and the ocean

Virtual Floating Laboratory

Explore My Marine Protected Areas

Welcome Aboard!

As we adapt to current conditions, we’re so glad you can join us on this new endeavor to explore marine protected areas and the conditions, and inhabitants, that make them invaluable. Let’s get going!

Our Journey

Our 90 minute virtual voyage will simulate what we typically experience on our Explore My MPAs Floating Laboratory, minus the seasickness. We will digitally take you from Seaforth Landing in Mission Bay just five miles North to the beautiful South La Jolla State Marine Reserve. While we explore more about our local marine protected areas, you, our community scientists, will take part in one of three different breakout sessions, covering such topics as: water quality, plankton and biodiversity using ROVs. The journey concludes with some special topic discussions and an opportunity to share our scientific findings. Check out the video below to see where we are going!

Marine Protected Areas

We can all agree that California's coast and ocean are among our most treasured resources. The productivity, wildness, and beauty found here is central to California's identity, heritage, and economy. These are major reasons why California, and WILDCOAST, was the first state to proactively plan for, create, implement, and continue to enforce and inform about California’s network of 545,280 acres of marine protected areas. You can think of marine protected areas, or MPAs, as underwater parks. Just like we have national, state, and regional parks on land, there are many different types of MPAs. Different parks allow different activities - same with MPAs! In San Diego County we are fortunate enough to have 11 MPAs to enjoy.

San Diego County's 11 MPAs

Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

Imperial Beach
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Cabrillo State Marine Reserve (SMR)

Point Loma/ San Diego
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Famosa Slough State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA No-Take)

Point Loma/San Diego
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South La Jolla State Marine Reserve (SMR) & State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

La Jolla
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Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve (SMR)

La Jolla
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San Diego-Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

La Jolla
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San Dieguito Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

Solana Beach/Encinitas
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Swamis State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA)

Encinitas
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San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA No-Take)

Cardiff
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Batiquitos Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA No-Take)

Carlsbad
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Research Station #1: Water Quality

Participate in community science research to answer the question: Is the ocean water chemistry changing over time within South La Jolla State Marine Reserve?

At this station we will collect virtual water samples at different depths using a Van Dorn bottle and measure the temperature, pH, and salinity at each depth in order to track our ocean health over time.

Welcome to the Water Quality Lab!

In this lab we will analyze water quality data from different depths. Watch the following YouTube video to learn about the Van Dorn bottle, the scientific tool used to collect water samples.

 

Water Quality Datasheet

Water Quality Data Packet

Water Quality Data Analysis

Water Quality Presentations

Research Station #2: Plankton Sampling

Participate in community science research to answer the question: What can trends in plankton diversity tell us about environmental conditions in San Diego’s 11 MPAs?

At this station we will learn about the amazing diversity of plankton, how we can collect it, and what important roles it plays in the ocean and in our daily lives!

Plankton Station Packet

Research Station #3: Biodiversity with ROVs

Participate in community science research to answer the question: How many species are found in San Diego County MPAs?

At this station we will analyze the biodiversity supported by San Diego County's MPAs by conducting a presence / absence study using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)!

Welcome to the ROV Station!

The video below will help you collect biodiversity data for the marine protected area.

ROV Lab Info

MPA Wildlife and Rec Guide

ROV Datasheet

Wrap Up

We’re so glad you could join us today on this virtual experience of exploring our marine protected areas. Once restrictions are lifted we hope you will go out and enjoy your coast firsthand. Hope to see you out there real soon! Bon voyage.

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Video: Safeguarding an Underwater Wilderness