California

Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is a species of kelp (large brown algae)

Kelp forests help the climate

Kelp is an ecologically and economically important foundation species in California, where forests line nutrient-rich, rocky bottom coasts. It also might alleviate acidification caused by too much atmospheric carbon being absorbed by the seas.

A new interdisciplinary analysis of giant kelp in Monterey Bay off the coast of California shows that near the ocean’s surface, the water was less acidic, suggesting the kelp canopy does reduce acidity.

California's Channel Islands: Kelp Diving on the US West Coast

A bright orange Garibaldi fish and crimson-colored California sheephead with red gorgonian at Santa Barbara Island. Photo by Frankie Grant

Due to their unique position relative to the eastern Pacific current, or the California Current, the Channel Islands off California’s coast receive an ideal amount of nutrients and water circulation for optimum growth of California giant kelp. This colonial algae forms forests over the rocky reefs and walls surrounding the islands, and act as one of the world’s most productive marine ecosystems.

La Jolla: Classic Southern California Diving

Playful California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are a highlight of diving La Jolla Cove. Photo Brent Durand.
Playful California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are a highlight of diving La Jolla Cove. Photo Brent Durand.

Cool sunlight slowly crept down from the horizon to the kelp beds off La Jolla in southern California. I took another sip of coffee. Sea lions barked on occasion as small groups of pelicans flew up the coast to start their day.

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2020 Long Beach Scuba Show Cancelled

Fri, 01/05/2020 - 23:35

We considered moving the 2020 show to later in the year, but ultimately decided that postponing the show still held too much uncertainty. The wellbeing of everyone under our roof is our primary concern, and there's no way to responsibly hold an event of this size and with people from around the world for the foreseeable future.

If you have already purchased tickets for the 2020 Scuba Show, you have two options. Please email us to let us know your preference:

Northern California: A Dive Off the American Wild West Coast

Metridium anemone and corynactis grow on a rock while blue rockfish swim overhead, Northern California, USA. Photo by Brent Durand.

Warm rinse water sloshed in the jug as my car hugged a sharp turn on California’s Pacific Coast Highway. I looked left at the mighty Pacific Ocean, the cliffs tumbling to the sea dotted by rugged pinnacles, stretching farther up the coast than the jam band solo currently playing out of the car speakers. Deep blue, favorable conditions all week, minimal swell, no-wind forecast—only unpredictable visibility could affect the diving today.

San Diego: Gateway to Wreck Alley and Islas Coronados

Larry Cohen on the wreck of the Ruby E, San Diego, California, USA. Photo by Olga Torrey.

San Diego’s Wreck Alley is an area with intentionally sunken ships. One of the wrecks divers can find here is the HMCS Yukon, which was a Mackenzie-class destroyer that served in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and later the Canadian Forces. She was named after the Yukon River that runs from British Columbia through the Yukon and into Alaska.

Southern California's Market Squid Run

Most years, Southern California on the US west coast is the site of a special marine life aggregation, treating locals to one of the most unique dives in the world. Hundreds of thousands of market squid (<i>Doryteuthis opalescens</i>) swim into recreational dive depths to mate and lay an expansive canvas of egg baskets (collections of eggs) across the sandy substrate.

Fin whale seen from the air

Californian whale populations stable or improving

Blue and fin whales are common inhabitants of the Southern California Bight, but little is known about their use of the area. To study their distribution, high-frequency acoustic recording packages were intermittently deployed at 16 locations across the bight from 2006 to 2012. Blue whale calls were more common at coastal sites and near the northern Channel Islands, while the fin whale call index was highest in the central and southern areas of the bight, indicating a possible difference in habitat preferences of the 2 species in this area.

Blue whale off Californian coast

Ships and blue whales in conflict off California

A new study in the journal Plos One has revealed blue whales assemble for long periods in the busy shipping lanes off California, raising concerns about collisions between vessels and the endangered cetaceans.

“It’s an unhappy coincidence,” said study leader Ladd Irvine, a marine mammal ecologist at Oregon State University. “The blue whales need to find the densest food supply. There’s a limited number of those dense places, and it seems as though two of the main regular spots are crossed by the shipping lanes.”