Welcome to Zooplankton of the San Diego Region

This guide was initiated as a tool to assist members of the public, students, and others curious about the drifting planktonic animals found in local marine waters near the coast of San Diego. This guide grew from a series of papers in the University of California Publications in Zoology series, published long ago by early researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). The species included in those papers are the foundation of the species list presented here; species’ names have been updated (generally following http://www.itis.gov/, http://www.marinespecies.org/, http://www.marinespecies.org/copepoda/aphia.php?p=taxlist ) and species not covered in the earlier works have been added.  This guide is not comprehensive and does not usually include the larval forms of benthic invertebrates.

This guide is not a taxonomic key.  Our intent is to present a pictorial guide to a few common species; currently 19 different taxonomic groups covering 131 species are presented. Included are the scientific names, common names, specific information, line drawings, photographs, a brief video segment if available, and useful references. For guidance with terminology, we encourage users to consult references on invertebrate zoology. Specific information and line drawings are drawn from the scientific literature, with permission.  Most photographs are original images taken in the Pelagic Invertebrate Collection (PIC), SIO, while others are from contributors who generously permitted the use of their images for this guide. Preserved or live specimens were photographed, depending upon availability of specimens. Identifications of the zooplankton were made by the staff of the PIC, unless otherwise noted.

How to use this guide?  Select one of the categories above and continue to make selections until you have found an image that best resembles your specimen.