Younger Lagoon Natural Reserve Bioblitz

Located adjacent to the UC Santa Cruz marine campus, Younger Lagoon Natural Reserve offers protection and access to a unique undisturbed coastal wetland and restored terrace. On April 28th, UCSC undergrads, UCSC alumni, UC Davis S.E.E.D.S, and local citizen scientists worked together to collect soil across the reserve, record flora and fauna with iNaturalist, and collect washed-in trash. 

Those collecting soil split into two groups. One group tackled the terrace, focusing their sampling on the three microhabitats (grassland, wetland, shrub) the terrace supports. Being raised on the terrace, this group was able to see a group of humpback whales breaching not too far off shore in the bay! The other group got a bit muddier, sampling from the sand bar in through the mixed and freshwater zones of the lagoons edge. This group was able to explore the beauty of an undisturbed and protected beach covered in drift wood, animal bones, and shells. 

Our trash collectors filled bags of water bottles, flip flops, candy wrappers, and other detritus that continues to wash in from the ocean. And our naturalists wandered both the terrace and lagoon taking pictures of native and invasive grasses, frogs, lizards, birds, and much more! 

The amazing turnout we had for this event allowed us to collect from 23 sites, record over 300 iNatualist observations, and remove several bags of trash from the Lagoon. 

iNat link for this event:

Our sampling site:

eDNA collection sites: