FLOW Friday Special Presentations
By Jill Lemon

FLOW Friday Fall Presentations:

OCT 5– Recent Case Studies of HAB’s: Florida has been decimated by multiple simultaneous Harmful Algal Blooms. Can a similar situation happen in SoCal?

OCT 12 – Genus Focus: Dinophysis: This genus can be responsible for a HAB that causes Diarrheic Shellfish Poisoning.

OCT 19– Sample Collection and Analysis: A run through of our procedures with a critical eye on methodology and insight to developing better lab techniques.

NOV 2 – Life Cycle of Phytoplankton Explore how phytoplankton cycle through growth, reproductions, blooms, and bedrock.

NOV 9 – Diatoms and Dinoflagellates There are several different types of phytoplankton, A quick rundown on the differences between the major types

NOV 16 – Genus Focus: Pseudo Nitzschia This Diatom is the central phytoplankton to monitor for Harmful Algal Blooms with Domoic Acid.

FLOW Program Manager photoFLOW Program Manager Jill Lemon
FLOW (Follow and Learn about the Ocean and Wetlands) has a constant need for volunteers to conduct citizen science. One part of what the Amigos citizen scientists do is collect a water sample from the ocean inlet at Bolsa Chica State Beach and at the footbridge in the Ecological Rerserve each week. They send a sample to the California Department of Public Health as well as perform analysis and microscopy of the sample. Since phytoplankton are the basis of the aquatic food web and produce most of Earth’s oxygen, the citizen scientists also pass along what they have learned about the ocean-wetland food web to visiting classes from middle schools, high schools and community colleges.

Citizen scientists, no matter their age, are just as inquisitive as the young people who participate in the program during the school year. Once a citizen scientist is hooked on identifying phytoplankton species, which is not unlike birding, they start to ask lots of questions. They want to know more about why a certain species is abundant, why another species is rare, why are some toxic, and how or if they work in concert to affect the planet as a whole. We are happy to be able to have special presentations during regular FLOW meetings. Each week, after the sample from the inlet is collected and returned, an open discussion presentation is given.

These presentations, now a part of the ongoing training of citizen scientists, help both new and established volunteeers have a deeper grasp of the importance of what they are doing. We’ll be looking at more topics that interest our volunteers, such as phytoplankton’s connection to the environment, toxins and their affects, lab procedures, and information on specific genus-types that inhabit Southern California. Training for the FLOW program is conducted at every Friday at the Bolsa Chica State Beach Visitor Center, and a schedule of dates and topics is posted on the Amigos website. Contact Jill at flow@amigosdebolsachica.org if you are interested in volunteering with FLOW.