Old Stairs | MARINe

Click here for Long-Term trends

Click here for Biodiversity Survey findings

Old Stairs is located in the South Coast region of California. This site is located in an Area of Special Biological Significance (Mugu Lagoon to Latigo Point ASBS). This site is near the Point Mugu Old Stairs Mussel Watch site. This moderately sloping site consists of extremely uneven terrain, containing many deep cracks and folds.

Old Stairs biodiversity survey overview

Old Stairs is dominated by a mixture of consolidated sandstone bedrock, riprap, boulder fields, and sandy beach, and the area surrounding the site is comprised of a mixture of boulder fields and sandy beach at this site. The primary coastal orientation of this site is southwest.

Long-Term Monitoring Surveys at Old Stairs were established in 1994, primarily funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. This site was sampled by  University of California Los Angeles through 2018, and is now monitored by California State University Fullerton and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Long-Term MARINe surveys currently target the following species and/or areas: Anthopleura (Anemones), Chthamalus/Balanus (Acorn Barnacles), Mytilus (California Mussel), Endocladia (Turfweed), Rock (Above Barnacles), and Pisaster (Ochre Star). In addition, motile invertebrates, barnacle recruitment, mussel size structure, and water temperature are monitored at this site. Click here to view Long-Term trends at this site.

Old Stairs long-term monitoring overview

Biodiversity Surveys were done in 2001, 2008, 2013, 2019, and 2024. The Biodiversity Survey grid encompasses two sections that are approximately 6 meters (along shore) x 20 meters (seaward), and 21 meters (along shore) x 20 meters (seaward). Click here to view Biodiversity Survey findings at this site.

Voucher specimens of selected invertebrate and seaweed species were collected from this site by California State University Fullerton in 2016. The MARINe vouchering effort was designed to collect and archive samples of species that are monitored using MARINe protocols. Archived samples from this site at the Smithsonian Institution (invertebrates) and University of California Berkeley Herbarium (algae) are identified as BOEM-MARINE-OLDS-112916.

For more information about Old Stairs, please contact Jennifer Burnaford (jburnaford@Fullerton.edu) and Jayson Smith (jaysonsmith@cpp.edu).