BioBlitz & Lagoon Day 2009:

Scientists find 735 species at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve

Scientists taking water samples to identify phytoplankton and
algae during the San Elijo Lagoon BioBlitz 2009.
(Photo: Elizabeth Venrick)

More than two dozen regional science experts surveyed the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve as part of the first ever BioBlitz in San Diego North County in the period leading up to the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy's annual 'Lagoon Day' celebration on Saturday, May 16, 2009, at the new San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

Among the most significant findings are the discovery of a species of 'everlasting' (a flowering plant) that had not previously been recorded at the Reserve, and the identification of four species of bats not previously confirmed there.

Species breakdown:

Scientists conducting a fish survey during the San Elijo
BioBlitz 2009 (Photo: Robin Shook)

The aquatics science team conducting a BioBlitz survey at the
San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.
(Photo: Elizabeth Venrick)

The following numbers of species were found within the different taxa:

Vascular Plants




















Reptiles & Amphibians


Invertebrates (freshwater)


Invertebrates (marine)







Within the different taxa, the following species were identified:


Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
Western red bat (Lasiurus blossevillii)
Yuma myotis (Myotis yumanensis)
Western mastiff bat (Eumops perotis)
coyote, striped skunk, raccoon, mule deer, California ground squirrel, valley pocket gopher, mouse sp., dusky-footed woodrat, desert cottontail
(seen offshore, but not included in count - California sea lion, common dolphin)

Participants:  Drew Stokes (bats), Steve Brad, Janine Free, John Konecny, Jim Wilson, and Robert Patton

Phytoplankton and algae:

Fresh Water Species:  52 species
(includes single and multicellular algae)
those added by “marine team” indicated with asterisk

Ranger Paul
Ranger Paul of the San Diego County Department of Parks and
Recreation displaying reptiles during the Lagoon Day
celebration as part of the 2009 San Elijo Lagoon BioBlitz.
(Photo: Jennifer Nelson)

Cyanobacteria (11 species)
Anabaena iyengarii
Calothrix fusca
Chamaesiphon incrustans
Heteroleiblenia kossinskajae
Leptolyngbya foveolarum
Leptolyngbya fragilis
Leptolyngbya notata
Lyngbya aestuarii
Phormidium cortianum
Phormidium inundatum
*cf. Picocystis (from salty square pond)
Green algae (9 species)
Carteria globosa
Chara vulgaris
Cladophora glomerata
Gongrosira schmidlei
Oedogonium sp.
Rhizoclonium hieroglyphicum
Ulva flexuosa
*2 unidentified desmids
Euglenoids (1 species)
Euglena sp.
Yellow-green algae (2 species)
Ophiocytium arbuscula
Pseudocharaciopsis minuta
Red algae (1 species)
Chantransia sp.
Diatoms (27 species)
Achnanthes brevipes
*cf. Amphiprora sp.
Amphora sp.
Bacillaria paradoxa
Cyclotella sp.
Cymbella spp.
Entomoneis sp.
*cf. Fragilaria sp.
Gomphonema spp.
*cf. Grammatophora sp.
Melosira varians sp.
Navicula spp.
Nitzschia spp.
* Pleurosigma cf fasciola
Pleurosigma sp.
Pleurosira laevis
Rhoicosphaenia sp.
Rhopalodia sp.
Surirella sp.
Synedra fasciculata
Synedra ulna
*Synedra sp.
* 5 unidentified pennate diatoms
Prasinophyte (1 species)
*cf. Tetraselmis (from salty square pond)

A member of the aquatics science team conducting
a BioBlitz survey at the San Elijo Lagoon
Ecological Reserve. (Photo: Elizabeth Venrick)

Marine Species - single celled (24 spp)

Diatoms (15 spp)
Bacteriastrum delicatulum
cf Campylosira
Chaetoceros compressus
cf. Cylindrotheca closterium
Grammatophora cf angulosa
cf Hantschia sp.
Licmophora sp.
Melosira sulcata
M. cf moniliformis
Navicula sp.
Ondontella cf rhombus
Pseudo-nitzschia sp. single cells
Rhizosolenia setigera
Skeletonema costatum
pennate sp.

Dinoflagellates (8 spp)
Ceratium divaricatum
C. falcatiformes
C. furca
Dinophysis fortii
Pronoctiluca sp.
Prorocentrum micans (dominant)
P. gracile
Pyrocystics lunula
Green algae (1 sp)
Eutreptiella sp.

Participants:  Elizabeth Venrick, Mary Hilbern.

Paradise the Clown entertaining young visitors at San Elijo
Lagoon Day with face painting. (Photo: Jennifer Nelson)

Pacific loon, common loon, pied-billed grebe, eared grebe, brown pelican, double-crested cormorant, Brandt's cormorant, great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, little blue heron, green heron, black-crowned night-heron, white-faed ibis, brant, mallard, cinnamon teal, gadwall, northern shoveler, osprey, white-tailed kite, Cooper's hawk, red-shouldered hawk, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, California quail, clapper rail, Virginia rail, common moorhen, American coot, black-bellied plover, killdeer, black-necked stilt, American avocet, spotted sandpiper, greater yellowlegs, willet, whimbrel, long-billed curlew, marbled godwit, sanderling, long-billed dowitcher, Wilson's phalarope, Bonaparte's gull, Heermann's gull, ring-billed gull, California gull, western gull, glaucous-winged gull, Caspian tern, royal tern, Forster's tern, least tern, rock dove, Eurasian collared-dove, mourning dove, white-throated swift, black-chinned hummingbird, Anna's hummingbird, Costa's hummingbird, Allen's hummingbird, Selasphorus sp., Nuttall's woodpecker, downy woodpecker, olive-sided flycatcher, Pacific slope flycatcher, ash-throated flycatcher, black phoebe, Say's phoebe, Cassin's kingbird, tree swallow, rough-winged swallow, cliff swallow, barn swallow, scrub jay, American crow, common raven, bushtit, Bewick's wren, house wren, marsh wren, California gnatcatcher, western bluebird, American robin, wrentit, northern mockingbird, California thrasher, European starling, Hutton's vireo, warbling vireo, orange-crowned warbler, yellow warbler, common yellowthroat, Wilson's warbler, yellow-breasted chat, western tanager, black-headed grosbeak, spotted towhee, California towhee, Belding's savannah sparrow, song sparrow, red-winged blackbird, Brewer's blackbird, great-tailed grackle, brown-headed cowbird, hooded oriole, house finch, lesser goldfinch, American goldfinch, house sparrow, nutmeg mannikin.

Participants:  Steve Brad, Bob Chaddock, Lori Chamberlain, Janine Free, Karen Jones, John Konecny, Jayne Lesley, Robert Patton, and Jim Wilson

Amphibians & Reptiles:
Linda Hawley of Ant-sized Adventures leading children in a
sensory awareness game during San Elijo Lagoon Day.
(Photo: Jennifer Nelson)

garden slender salamander, Pacific treefrog, bullfrog, California legless lizard, western fence lizard, side-blotched lizard, orange-throated whiptail, tiger whiptail, western rattlesnake, pond slider

Participants:  Brad Hollingsworth, John Neville, Jim Wilson, Robert Patton, Lori Chamberlain, Steve Brad, John Konecny.

Vascular Plants:  227 Species

Detailed species list available here.

Participants:  Janine Free, Tara Fuad, Jayne Lesley, Andrew Mauro, Kathleen Mauro, Robert Patton, Denise Stillinger, Elizabeth Venrick, Susan Welker.

Insects:  213 Species
Participants:  Michael Wall, Jim Berrian, Dave Dyer, UCSD Ecology Lab students.

Spiders:  28 Species
Participants:  Jim Berrian, Michael Wall.

Fish:  16 Species
Participants:  Doug Gibson, Amy Trujillo, H.J. Walker.

Non-vascular Plants:  10 Species
Participant:  Chris Harrell.

Freshwater Invertebrates:  9 Species
Participants:  Doug Gibson, Amy Trujillo, Barry Holcome, Barry Lindgren.

Marine Invertebrates:  8 Species
Participants:  Doug Gibson, Amy Trujillo.

Fungii:  4 Species
Species included:  Schizophyllum, Cantharellus, Fusarium, Crepidotus

Participant:  Wayne Green.

What is a BioBlitz?

A BioBlitz is a 24-hour inventory of all living organisms in a given area. The first 'BioBlitz' took place in 1996 in Washington, D.C. San Diego had its first BioBlitz last May ay Balboa Park, where the San Diego Natural History Museum organized all activities. The BioBlitz at San Elijo Lagoon in May 2009 was the first BioBlitz in San Diego North County.