Track: Field Trip
The heavily modified Los Angeles River has been the inspiration for dozens of advocacy organizations, projects, and events since the late 1970s. Over 90% of the river has been channelized for flood control since the 1940s, but recent modifications have been made towards community recreation. With the LA River Master Plan being renewed for the 1st time since 1996, river stakeholders have noted that its biodiversity remains unclear. The CALeDNA program, a community science initiative from the University of California system, has partnered with river stakeholders to study the biodiversity of the river using environmental DNA (eDNA) from soil, sediment, and water samples. By looking at both eDNA results and data from river stakeholders, we take a closer look at how truly diverse the river is not just in habitat but in biological communities.
For this trip, attendees will visit several of our study sites from the river varying in levels of channelization, modification, and recreation use. The CALeDNA team will demonstrate how samples are collected in the field and highlight how collection techniques vary at each site. Attendees will get to see the river’s bike paths, pocket parks, and see where the river meets the Pacific Ocean at Long Beach (not far from the convention center where the annual meeting is based). In addition, folks will have the opportunity to visit biodiversity hotspots that are popular for bird watching, fishing, and mushroom hunting.