Water Resource Collections and Archives


San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay 2K Biodiversity Study

Organization: California Academy of Sciences
2001 Grant Recipient – Multiple Counties


The Academy's major biological survey aimed to document occurrences of all benthic animals in San Francisco Bay, including non-native species. The resulting baseline information was combined with the Academy's unique historical data, providing a resource from which environmental mitigation parameters could be developed. SFBay:2K blends research and outreach to educate the public on Bay conservation.

Contact Information:

Dr. Rich Mooi,
SFBay:2K Scientific Coordinator
California Academy of Sciences
5 Music Concourse Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone: 415-379-5270;
E-Mail: RMooi@CalAcademy.org


SFBay:2K is an important Academy program that conducted a comprehensive biological survey of the bottom-dwelling animals in San Francisco Bay, both native and invasive, documenting biological changes to the Bay, and aiding in its conservation through research, publications, museum exhibits and educational outreach. San Francisco Bay is among the world’s most-invaded environments, and has also been heavily impacted by human activity. Urbanization, habitat loss, and the introduction of non-indigenous species have radically altered the Bay's ecology. Remarkably, no single resource exists that lists and summarizes information on the fauna of San Francisco Bay. SFBay:2K was piloted in 1999 and fully launched by the Academy in 2000 to document all native and invasive benthic animals in the Bay, and to develop educational outreach materials to inform the scientific community; policy makers; local, state and federal government agencies; conservation and environmental organizations; and the general public.

SFBay:2K is a model program at the Academy, integrating research and education, the twin goals of the institution, with conservation efforts of an important habitat. Specimens were collected twice a year each spring and fall at 20 marinas from San Pablo Bay south to the Redwood City area. The spring collecting regime is intended to provide a snapshot of the communities close to salinity minimum (post-rains), and in the fall close to salinity maximum. The Academy has more than 14,000 lots of material, most of which have been geo-coded into a format that provides the capacity of immediate mapping and preliminary meta-analysis.

The educational component of SFBay:2K introduced 70 high school teachers and more than 35 high school interns since 2001 to the process of scientific discovery, involving them directly in specimen collection each spring and fall, as well as in identification and data analysis. The teachers and interns went into the field and lab with Academy research and education staff. The teachers returned to their classrooms with toolboxes of teaching programs that draw upon Bay science developed at the Academy. In turn, SFBay:2K trained the next generation of scientists in field work, collections, and lab work.

Staffing for the initiative presently consists of a Scientific Coordinator, a SFBay:2K Educator, and a full-time Curatorial Assistant. These staff were instrumental in developing the program and protocols of SFBay:2K, and were deeply involved in local outreach activities and policy workshops. For example, in February of 2001, staff of SFBay:2K hosted a special lecture session at the Academy called “Stopping the Invasions: Lessons for San Francisco Bay in Controlling Invasive Species." This was held in conjunction with a symposium at the San Francisco AAAS meeting on the same subject. Representatives from the US Geological Survey made several visits to CAS Bay collections. The Academy also participated in a NOAA Fisheries/National Ocean Service, and San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission workshop dealing with the future of Bay natural resources and benthic environments. In March of 2004, SFBay:2K staff visited the Seattle Aquarium to talk about the CAS program as a model for their efforts in Puget Sound.

The SFBay:2K outreach project provided a biological baseline and database from which planning decisions on major applied projects in the Bay can be informed, assisted in the identification of which priority habitats should be conserved, and enabled assessment of impact of animal distributions. The result will be a complete list of all benthic animals occurring in the Bay. The information was disseminated via a field guide available through Scientific Publications at CAS:

Mooi, R., V.G. Smith, M.G. Burke, T.M. Gosliner, C.N. Piotrowski, R.K. Ritger. 2007. Animals of San Francisco Bay. A Field Guide to Its Common Benthic Species. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. 216 pp.

In addition, the Academy published a pictorial, laminated, fold-out guide to 42 invertebrates and 19 fishes that occur in San Francisco Bay. Species and imagery were also provided on our website at:


The site contains portals to the collection data and allows access to taxon lists and images.

Quick Links

Project Photos

Participants sorting invertebrates on site.

Teacher and student trying to key invertebrates.

Academy intern collecting sample from the marina dock.

Participants fixing samples before going back to the lab.

Ichthyology crew setting up the trawl net.

Research staff checking reference to help participant identify organisms.

Last modified: 7/2/2012 3:13 PM by S. Haren

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