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Explore Lake Merritt with Andy Cohen

  • Rotary Nature Center 600 Bellevue Avenue Oakland, CA, 94610 United States (map)
Andy Cohen showing off some organisms at the Lake Merritt docks

Andy Cohen showing off some organisms at the Lake Merritt docks

Explore the shores of Oakland’s Lake Merritt with marine biologist Andrew Cohen of the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) and the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions (CRAB) on this "Critter Walk". Dr. Cohen is an expert on the aquatic life of San Francisco Bay and how it has changed over the years. He directs The Exotics Guide online and studies new invasions in the Bay.

Lake Merritt’s invertebrate fauna is perhaps the longest-studied in the Bay. It was exhaustively surveyed by Dr. Jim Carlton in the 1960’s when he was a high school student at Oakland High School (just up the hill on MacArthur Blvd.) In 1972 Carlton reported approximately 50 invertebrate species living in the lake, only 11 of which were native. Lake Merritt is currently included in research by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Laboratory (SERC) branch in Tiburon. A re-survey in 2016 found about 50 invertebrate species, including many fully marine species. Lake Merritt continues to yield surprises as the climate warms and the world shrinks due to modern shipping and other modes by which humans unwittingly transport species.

Meet-up will be at 1 p.m. on the pedestrian path across from the bird islands near the Rotary Nature Center (the first nature center inside a wildlife refuge in the U.S.A.) Wear sun protection, bring a water bottle, wear sturdy shoes that can get wet (boots and waders OK but not needed), clothes that can get wet and dirty (perhaps a change if you want), a smart phone loaded with iNaturalist program for recording observations, (a clip-on macro lens for smart phone if you have one). Wash hands after getting wet with lake water. Bathroom facilities are available at the Lake Merritt Boating Center. If you wear gloves, dispose of them properly please.

Free walk, but please sign up so Andy Cohen and Katie Noonan know how any people to anticipate