Diversity Initiative for the
Southern California Ocean

The Diversity Initiative for the Southern California Ocean (DISCO) is a research initiative of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Its aim is to greatly enhance our ability to discover and document biodiversity in the marine environment by applying modern genetic technology.

DISCO Upcoming Events

21–22 MarAscidian taxonomy workshop

DISCO and SCAMIT are jointly presenting a taxonomic workshop on West Coast ascidians, led by Gretchen Lambert. Contact Leslie Harris for details.

24 Mar3rd Annual City Science for Conservation Symposium

Join DISCO and other NHMLA attendees at this upcoming Conservation Symposium at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

6–7 AprBroadening Diversity Workshop

Staff of DISCO and the Marine Biodiversity Center will be participating in NHMLA’s NSF-sponsored Broadening Diversity Workshop.

15 AprNHM Fellows on the Docks

DISCO will lead an afternoon biodiversity event for NHMLA Fellows beginning at the docks in San Pedro, then continuing on a pair of tall ships operated by the Los Angeles Maritime Institute.

27–28 AprCity Nature Challenge at Pt. Fermin

As part of the City Nature Challenge, DISCO staff will lead two intertidal events at Pt. Fermin in San Pedro during the afternoon low tides. Check back here soon for details of how to sign up to participate.

16–17 JunSnapshot Cal Coast

For the Snapshot CalCoast 2018 event, DISCO will host two intertidal events. Check back here soon for details of how to sign up to participate.

DISCO Projects

Advanced Research Internship Program 2018

We will host a group of high school interns for a three-week intensive Advanced Research Internship Program (ARIP), for one week online and two weeks in the Museum. We have done similar programs in 2016 and 2017.

Malibu Pier BioBlitz

We provided a marine BioBlitz experience for classes of fourth-graders at Malibu Pier in parnership with the National Parks Service. In conjunction with the public side of the BioBlitz, we are supported by NPS to barcode 1,000 specimens as part of the DISCO project.

WeDigBio Crab Shack specimen digitization

The DISCO group fielded The Crab Shack as participation in 2015’s WeDigBio international collection digitization initiative.

Vernal Pools

NHMLA is one of two California State-designated repositories for specimens of endangered fairy shrimp. The DISCO group is involved in vernal pool specimen collection and processing as well as molecular investigations of the vernal pool biota.

Crabs in the Family Cancridae

The “Cancer crabs” (Family Cancridae) are distributed worldwide in coastal ocean waters. This group includes the commercially important Dungeness and Rock Crabs. The Eastern Pacific is a global diversity hotspot for these crabs. We are investigating their phylogeny, using primarily molecular tools, with the aim of informing biological systematics and fishery management.