September 29, 2022

Please join project to document species alive in Lake Merritt after the HAB

If you are doing iNaturalist and are in Oakland, please help us observe living species at Lake Merritt after the fish kill in August. Open to all taxa, not limited to invertebrates


Posted on September 29, 2022 06:41 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 29, 2022

Please upload photos of dead fish and marine organisms

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and come across dead or dying fish or other marine organisms possibly affected by the recent plankton bloom, please upload them. This will give researchers an idea of which species were affected and what the geographic extent of the possible effects of the Heterosigma akashiwo plankton bloom.

Posted on August 29, 2022 04:00 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 26, 2022

Snapshot Cal Coast 2022 at Lake Merritt -Table Sat July 2nd 10 am to 2 pm

Help the CA Academy of Sciences gather critical biodiversity data from the California coast. Yes! Lake Merritt is part of the CA coastline.

Registration is helpful but not required. Drop by our table at edge of the parking lot by the Lake Merritt Boating Center to learn how to participate on your own or work with naturalists to survey and identify species on the docks and shoreline of Lake Merritt. Rotary Nature Center Friends will provide help in getting and using the iNat App. We are sure to find several exotic target species in Lake Merritt. Maybe some new ones this year! Join us.

We will follow all public health guidelines. Observe social distancing. Be prepared to wear a mask if required. This event will be outdoors.

Posted on June 26, 2022 03:13 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 03, 2022

Talk by Dr. Jim Covel about the Lake Merritt Tubeworm Ficopomatus enigmaticus-free, online Friday Jan 7th 7 pm

Rotary Nature Center Friends is hosting a free online talk by Dr. Carlton. A great way to start off the year!
James T. Carlton, Professor of Marine Sciences Emeritus, Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) and Director Emeritus, The Ocean & Coastal Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut

Title: “The Lake’s Most Famous Animal: The Enigmatic Story (and the 100th Anniversary!) of the Lake Merritt Tubeworm”

Description: First discovered in Lake Merritt 100 years ago, the brackish-water tubeworm Ficopomatus enigmaticus (known before the 1980s to Lake naturalists as Mercierella enigmatica) has a long and fascinating global history. What exactly is it, what does it eat, and how does it reproduce? Where did it come from and how did it get to San Francisco Bay? Why did a French scientist give it the name enigmaticus? And why did the tubeworm remain only in San Francisco Bay until the 1990s, after which it began to appear elsewhere in California? Today the Lake Merritt tubeworm is also found in Europe, the North American Atlantic coast, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, and elsewhere. We’ll explore some of the scientific techniques that have been used to explore out where its (probable) original home port was.

Register here: to
You will receive zoom link in confirmation email.
Rotary Nature Center Friends is a community 501c3 nonprofit advocating for the Rotary Nature Center in Lakeside Park as an interpretive education and science center for all the people of Oakland and as the Steward for the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge.

Posted on January 03, 2022 03:04 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 01, 2021

Jan 8th 7-8 pm PST-Lakeside Chat with James Covel: Stories from the Early Days at Lake Merritt

Please register here:
Before there was iNaturalist, before there were smart phones, even before earth-observing satellites, the first municipal naturalist in the United States Paul Covel developed a philosophy and practice of citizen science in Oakland, CA. His motto, "Bringing Nature and People Together" resonates today.
Wishing everyone a safe, healthy and peaceful New Year. We would like to invite you to join us for the first Lakeside Chat of 2021, "Stories from the Early Days at Lake Merritt", featuring James Covel of the Monterey Bay Aquarium (and son of legendary Rotary Nature Center Naturalist Paul Covel).
Friday January 8th from 7 pm-8 pm PST. There will be a 30 minute illustrated talk followed by questions and answers, a trivia game with prizes and discussion. Please share widely with your members and social media.
Description: The story of Lake Merritt is a story of people connecting to nature in the heart of a big city. The city established the first municipal naturalist program in the country (at the first waterfowl refuge in the country) to nurture that connection to nature. We'll dig into this story, and talk about the people that were involved, including Paul Covel, the City's first naturalist.
This is a free, completely online program. A zoom link will be sent to eventbrite registrants before the show.
We are looking forward to brighter days at Lake Merritt and around the world. Take care and hope to seeing you on the 8th.

Posted on January 01, 2021 04:20 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 21, 2020

Lakeside Chat Recording - Dr. James Carlton - “An Unsolved San Francisco Bay Mystery: The Enigmatic Beach-Hopper of Lake Merritt”

Dr. Carlton's December 4th talk brought us up to date on ongoing scientific research into the origin of the little amphipod found only in the 340 acre tidal lagoon in the heart of urban Oakland, CA. It was fun and a great opportunity to talk with Jim.
If you missed the talk you can view it at

Answers to questions in Chat can be found here:

Lakeside Chats are a monthly series of free online talks about a variety of topics related to Lake Merritt. They are sponsored by Rotary Nature Center Friends ( Please join us for future talks listed on our website.

Posted on December 21, 2020 02:19 AM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 04, 2020

Join us tonight for free onine zoom talk by marine biologist, Jim Carlton!

Please join us for our first free online Lakeside Chat program this Fri 7-8 pm by zoom. Marine biologist Jim Carlton is going to talk about an enigmatic little invertebrate that is found only at the lake and was key to his figuring out marine invasions via ballast water. He'll also talk about his pathway to becoming a scientist. We are opening the room with "warm-up" activities at 6:45 pm to bring in and hopefully engage a wide audience including families. (Jim is an Oakland High graduate!)
Please register via eventbrite, tso that you can receive the Zoom link.

Title: An Unsolved Mystery: The Enigmatic Beach-Hopper of Lake Merritt
Fri, Dec 4, 2020 7:00 PM-8:00 PM 30 min talk + Q&A by Zoom
Event URL:

Best wishes,
Katie Noonan
Rotary Nature Center Friends

Posted on December 04, 2020 01:41 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 11, 2020

Invitation to Jim Carlton's online talk - An Unsolved San Francisco Bay Mystery: The Enigmatic Beach-Hopper of Lake Merritt

Dr. Jim Carlton will kick off a series of talks, "Lakeside Chats", about Lake Merritt, its diverse wildlife and human community. Fri, Dec 4, 2020 7:00 PM - 8:00 pm
Interactive: 25 min of Q&A

Please register at:
Event URL:
Lakeside Chats Organizer: Rotary Nature Center Friends

Yes, the scientific name of the iconic Lake Merritt Beach Hopper has been changed from Transorchestia enigmatica to Bulychaeva enigmatica.

Abstact: A small, one-half inch, semi-terrestrial crustacean living in Lake Merritt is one of San Francisco Bay’s biggest mysteries. Beach-hopper amphipods (distantly related to shrimps and crabs) live in a unique but narrow and fragile habitat — the uppermost edges of beaches around the world, and are typically found under decaying seaweed, driftwood, and rocks. Our native beach-hoppers are found both in San Francisco Bay and along outer coast beaches. However, one species of beach-hopper, Bulychaeva enigmatica, is found in only one place in the world — Lake Merritt! Is it a native relict of the Bay Past, or a non-native species from somewhere else in the world? We trace its discovery, the most current thinking about its origins, and how this enigmatic beach hopper may have come to be in Lake Merritt.

See you there! Katie Noonan

Posted on November 11, 2020 04:13 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 17, 2020

150th Anniversary of the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge

It's the 150th anniversary of the first wildlife refuge in the nation - Lake Merritt in Oakland!
There will be a virtual celebration on Friday, October 23rd 7-8 pm on the Zoom.

Hear live-streamed remarks from marine biologists Jim Carlton and Andrew Cohen,and many other speakers from science, history, conservation and environmental justice. Time permitting, there will be an opportunity to ask questions via chat.

See the full list of speakers on the Eventbrite invitation. Zoom link will be sent via email before the program.

Please register online for a thoughtful, upbeat, fun community education event. FREE.

Posted on October 17, 2020 11:33 PM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 06, 2020

City Nature Challenge - Lake Merritt BioBlitz 2020

The City Nature Challenge was a great occasion to resurvey the aquatic life at the Lake Merritt Boating Center dock. Thank you to the California Academy of Sciences Citizen Science Department and to the observers and identifiers who contributed to the Lake Merritt BioBlitz 2020. Thirty aquatic species were observed at Lake Merritt this year, in comparison to seventeen last year.

Here is a species list and some observations about differences between this year and last.

Physical conditions: Observed on Fri 4/24, 2020 at Lake Merritt Boating Center Docks
Cool and windy, water temperature 20 degC , salinity 30 ppt; dissolved oxygen 8 ppm, pH 7.5, Secchi 170 cm. Tide gate was probably closed, low tide levels. Lake Merritt received only 1.67 inches of rainfall Jan-Apr 2020, compared to 13 inches in Jan-Apr 2019. Last year, water temperature was 23 degC and salinity was only 22 ppt, .

Halichondria bowerbanki - Deadman’s finger sponge
Clathria prolifera (by tide-gate) Red-Beard sponge

Sea Anemones
Diadumene lineata - Green-striped anemone
Diadumene franciscana San Francisco anemone

Teredo navalis – Ship’s worm (observed 4/22/2020) or possibly Bankia
Mytilis galloprovinciali*s Mediterranean mussel - Photos taken, smooth not ribbed, all sizes
Mya arenaria – Soft-shelled clam
Ruditapes philippinarum - Japanese Littleneck clam (shell only)

Haloa japonica– Japanese Bubbleshell, many egg masses
Urosalpinx cinerea- Eastern Oyster Drill - several adults and egg cases
Tritia obsoleta- Atlantic Mud Snail

Palaemon macrodactylus – Oriental shrimp (observed 4/20/20)
Other amphipods
Gnorimosphaeroma oregonense, Sphaeroma quoiannum, needs i.d. - Oregon pillbug
Amphibalanus improvisus – Bay barnacle - many small barnacles encrusting mussels on dock


Australian tubeworm - Ficopomatus enigmaticus
Pile worm - Nereidae
Fifteen-scaled worm- Harmothoe imbricata
Unidentified polychaete and polychaete larvae.
Syllidae (in plankton)

Nematoda (in plankton)

Ciona savignyi – Solitary sea squirt
Botryllus schlosseri - Star tunicate
Botrylloides diagenesis - San Diego tunicate
Styela clava – Club tunicate
Acidia zara (?)
But no Molgula manhattensis - unless the misshapen ones with heavy skin flagging are aging M.m.

Pennate Diatoms- Several kinds
Chain diatoms
Polychaete larvae
Copepods in various stages mostly immatures
Gastropod larvae
D-shaped bivalve larvae.

Sea Weeds: Cladophora (this is possibly incorrect), red algae that needs to be identified (uploaded to iNat as Sarcodithia or Gracillaria). Observed (4/20-4/22) - Enteromorpha, Ulva sheets, Codium fragile floating.

Gobies, Northern Anchovies, mosquito fish, topsmelt silversides, Northern Pipefish

Not observed last year in BioBlitz: Red Beard Sponge, Styela clava, Diadumene franciscana, Star tunicate, San Diego tunicate, Bay barnacle, Japanese Littleneck clam,

Not observed this year: Okenia plana, rainwater killifish, red-striped barnacle, Asian date mussel, Conopeum, other bryozoans

Posted on May 06, 2020 04:30 AM by ktnoon ktnoon | 0 comments | Leave a comment