First intertidal monitoring day reveals an unexpected guest
Today project lead Niko Kaplanis assisted Cabrillo National Monument staff with collecting long term monitoring data at the Cabrillo intertidal sites. While wrapping up their survey, Niko found a single Sargassum horneri stipe growing in the intertidal at Zone I near the visitor entry path to the intertidal area. This is the first time this species has been documented growing within the Cabrillo National Monument.
Sargassum horneri is a non-native invasive marine alga that was first introduced to the Southern California area in 2003, and that has since rapidly spread throughout the Southern California area. Its introduction to the park may have long term consequences on the composition of the intertidal community. A closely related species, Sargassum muticum, was introduced to the area in the 1970's and has since spread to occupy a large area in the intertidal zone.
This example illustrates one of the benefits of long term monitoring: keeping a consistent eye on the ecosystem. Such monitoring allows for consistent documentation of ecosystem change. For more information on this invasive alga in San Diego please click here.