Rocky Shores Sandy Shores
Estuaries Soft-rock Reefs
Kelp Forests Ocean Surface
Rocky Offshore Bottoms Sandy Offshore Bottoms
Rocky Offshore Bottoms support communities of invertebrates that are different from those found along the rocky shore. The Winged Oyster is a species that has been brought into our area from Mexico by El Nino conditions. The specimen pictured above was stranded on San Onofre Beach about two years ago. Gorgonian corals are among the exotic marine organisms that can be observed by divers. Shells of the Chestnut Cowrie are occasionaly washed up on southern California beaches.
Sandy Offshore Bottoms are the most prevalent shallow water habitat off the shores of southern California. The species of sandy bottom shells from 100 feet or deeper are generally different from those found along the shore. Beach replenishment operations in San Diego about a year ago brought the shells of these species on shore.
Text by Scott Rugh, Collections Manager, Invertebrate Fossils; photos by Scott Rugh and Kelvin Barwick