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Unnatural History: Biological Invasions into Coastal Ecosystems

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Southern California lagoons are complex environments that require informed management practices. In their natural states, many of these lagoons periodically open and close to the sea. However, watershed alterations and lagoon inlet modifications have reduced their capacity to open and close as they usually do. In response, coastal managers have begun to manage these lagoons to remain open for water quality purposes. However, scientists and managers have recently been reconsidering this one-size-fits-all approach to lagoon management, since managing a lagoon mouth to be continually open can be expensive and may compromise the lagoon's unique biodiversity and ecosystem services. A 2015 Science Transfer project led by the Tijuana River Reserve analyzed existing lagoon mouth literature and long-term monitoring data to provide managers with the information needed to improve the health of Southern California's coastal lagoons.

About this article

Although analyses of long-term biotic trends were not a focus of this project, the work the project team did on this topic was presented at the U.S.-Iran Symposium on Wetlands and this paper appeared in the Conference Proceedings. This paper documents the increasing watershed influence and hypo-salinity in the Los Penasquitos Lagoon.


Crooks, Jeff & Talley, Drew & Cordrey, M & Whitcraft, Christine & Lorda, Julio & Uyeda, K & Bellringer, H & Mccullough, J & Almeida, Monica. (2016). Unnatural History: Biological Invasions into Coastal Ecosystems.