The California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) are a unique partnership of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries Service and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The organization was formed in 1949 to study the ecological aspects of the sardine population collapse off California. Today our focus has shifted to the study of the marine environment off the coast of California, the management of its living resources, and monitoring the indicators of El Nino and climate change. CalCOFI conducts quarterly cruises off southern & central California, collecting a suite of hydrographic and biological data on station and underway. Data collected at depths down to 500 m include: temperature, salinity, oxygen, phosphate, silicate, nitrate and nitrite, chlorophyll, transmissometer, PAR, C14 primary productivity, phytoplankton biodiversity, zooplankton biomass, and zooplankton biodiversity.
In 2004, the CalCOFI surveys became part of the LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) ecological studies network as a site to understand the pelagic ecosystem of the California Current. The CCE-LTER project has expanded CalCOFI goals and, with additional seawater sample analyses and vertical net tows, broaden the scope of the 65 year times-series. LTER also conducts seasonal process cruises in the CalCOFI grid and operate autonomous gliders along lines 80 and 90 (http://spray.ucsd.edu/).
Ancillary data collected include continuous underway sea surface & meterological measurements (MET or SCS); Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) data; the Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES, winter, spring, & summer cruises); trawling (winter & spring); fisheries acoustics; DIC & pCO2 sample collection. Marine mammal and sea bird visual surveys are conducted during transits between stations along with marine mammal acoustics recording.
The organization hosts an annual conference, publishes a scientific journal and quarterly hydrographic data reports for each cruise while maintaining a publicly accessible data server. CalCOFI hydrographic & plankton data are distributed to the community for use without restriction. Unless otherwise noted, these data can be considered to be final data which have been evaluated using CalCOFI data quality control procedures. Methods for data collection and processing are summarized in cruise data reports introduction. Annual CalCOFI Reports and bi-annual data reports are available at the UCSD/SIO libraries or contact the data manager for publication availability.
CalCOFI research is supported by contributions from the participating agencies: The California State Department of Fish and Game, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and the University of California, Integrative Oceanography Division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD.