Collection Data

Page Contents: Section | Significance | Background | Location & Dates | Taxonomic Contents | Documentation | Description of Collection | Collection Inventory | Collection Assets

California Bight Survey 2003

Section Responsible for Processing



This collection comprehensively represents benthos present in the Southern California Bight (SCB) during summer 2003. It includes bulk samples collected at spatially random locations throughout the SCB from estuaries and bays to the continental shelf and slope up to 1000 m deep.


Recognizing the value of regional assessment, 12 agencies joined in a cooperative sampling effort to assess the ecological health of southern California’s mainland shelf in the summer of 1994. This regional study, the Southern California Bight Pilot Project (SCBPP), mapped the extent and assessed the relative degrees of perturbation at different locations. It also led to standardization of sampling methods when regional monitoring methods were adopted for facility-specific monitoring. Standardization extended beyond data collection to include data management as regional monitoring data were shared among participants. The SCBPP also provided an opportunity for development of assessment tools for the interpretation of benthic data on regional and local scales.

Based on the success of the 1994 survey, a second cooperative regional survey known as Bight’98 was conducted by 62 organizations in 1998. Bight'98 expanded the spatial scope of the SCBPP in three ways: (1) sampling extended inshore to assess the condition of bays, harbors, and ports; (2) coastal sampling extended southward to include the Mexican mainland shelf as far south as Ensenada; and (3) coastal sampling extended westward to include the SCB island shelf.

A third cooperative survey known as Bight’03 was conducted by 58 organizations in 2003. Bight'03 expanded on Bight'98 in two ways. The sampling effort was extended shoreward to include estuaries (and lagoons), and off the mainland and island shelves down slopes and basins to a depth of 1,000 meters.

This collection includes the bulk samples collected throughout the Southern California Bight during the Bight'03 survey. It also includes voucher specimens exemplifying species names used to identify organisms that were collected.

Collection Location and Dates

The Southern California Bight between Point Conception and the United States–Mexico border, were sampled at 396 subtidal stations between 14 July – 16 October 2003. For each station, station identifier, sampling date, geographic coordinates in decimal degrees, depth in meters, percent fine sediments (< 63 µm) dry weight, and location information is contained in the “Station Data” spreadsheet in the accompanying Excel workbook.

Taxonomic Contents

The collection includes 1,664 taxa reprsenting 13 phyla, of which 1,283 taxa (77.1%) were identified to species. The project collected 245,917 organisms. A list of taxa with higher level taxonomic information, the number of stations at which the taxon occurred, and the total abundance in the collection are included in the “Taxon Names” spreadsheet in the accompanying Excel workbook. All material was fixed in 10% formalin and transferred to 70% ethanol.


Bight’03 benthic studies and results are presented in Volume III of the study report which is available below. Chapter 2 of the benthic report contains descriptions of the methods as well as maps presenting the geographical distribution of the sampling stations. All the Bight’03 assessment reports are available at

Bight’03 planning documents are available at There planning documents include overview documents and detailed methods manuals. The overview documents include (a) the Coastal Ecology Work Plan, (b) the Information Management Plan, and (c) the Quality Assurance Plan. The benthic studies are one element of Coastal Ecology along with Sediment Chemistry, Sediment Toxicity, and Trawl Fish and Mega-invertebrates.

Detailed methods manuals are available for (a) field operations and (b) the macrobenthic sample analysis laboratory manual.

Description of Collection

A list of voucher specimens, including taxonomic information, number of voucher specimens, station identification and collection date, collecting agency, and processing laboratory is included in the “Vouchers” spreadsheet in the accompanying Excel workbook.

Collection Inventory

No information available.

Collection Assets

Date View or Retrieve File Information
02/02/2015 Retrieve [4920.8 kB] JAR labels
Bight'03 Information for LACMNH_editLH.xls
Original_Bight 03 voucher spreadsheet_EF.xls
Prog 914 Data Request 14 Collection Information Shopping List.pdf
02/02/2015 Retrieve [6044.6 kB] Bight'03 Information for LACMNH_editLH.xls
JAR labels
Original_Bight 03 voucher spreadsheet_EF.xls
Prog 914 Data Request 14 Collection Information Shopping List.pdf
02/02/2015 Retrieve [427.1 kB] 1ABC
1City San Diego
02/02/2015 Retrieve [5122.7 kB] benthic03_infaunal_abundance
Bight 03 Report
B03_Benthic_Appendix_C_community measures.pdf
B03_Benthic_Appendix_D_community measures bay-estuaries.pdf
B03_Benthic_Appendix_G_comparison 5 indicators benthic community condition.pdf
04/26/2010 Retrieve [3054.0 kB] Bight ‘03 benthic studies results (Volume III).

Curatorial Status (Click to view)