CI-CORE: Ocean Observatory Program:

The California State University’s Center for Integrative Coastal Observation, Research and Education (CICORE) program was started in 2002 under the auspices of NOAA-COTS with a mandate to monitor California coastal waters and shores. CICORE is integrated with other observatory programs locally, regionally, and nationally to help satisfy the mandate of the United States Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observing System (IOOS) as articulated in Oceans US and other state and federal programs.

Quick Links:

OverviewLocationsDataLinkInstrumentation/Quality AssuranceContact Info 


Who are we?

The CICORE program is a state-wide California State University effort to monitor California’s coastal waters and shores ( This program is coordinated by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the operating site of CSU’s central California marine science consortium. The Ocean Studies Institute (OSI) through its administrative campus, the California State University Long Beach (CSULB), was added to the CICORE program in October 2004. Dr. Rick Pieper, Director SCMI/OSI, directs the program in the Los Angeles area, along with other OSI scientists. SCMI/OSI/CSULB staff and scientists are presently working on the project. Assistance in ocean engineering is being provided by Mr. Sam Kelly, a faculty member in Ocean Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona (CSPUP) and his students.

The CICORE website with access to real-time water quality data, other data products, and descriptions of the CICORE partners and programs can be found at:

CI-CORE Efforts around Los Angeles:
Ocean Studies Institute (OSI), is a consortium that includes several CSU campuses in southern California. Operating through CSU Long Beach, OSI has created a baseline map (right) of the southern Los Angeles County coastline. OSI has also established water quality monitoring stations near the Los Angeles/ Long Beach Harbor Complex. Two existing monitoring locations are shown (right) in solid orange circles. Two additional locations are proposed with dashed orange circles.

Data from these moorings transmit every six minutes to the OSI/SCMI laboratory in Fish Harbor via a 900MHZ spread spectrum radio signal and then to a host server in real-time.

Data are available to all users in real-time and archived formats ( Data are reviewed monthly and posted on this site (link).

We plan in the future for data from one or both moorings to be used in watershed displays, exhibits, and educational programs at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro ( and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach ( Ideally, data from these moorings will useful to local regulatory agencies, scientists from OSI and other universities, government scientists, and the general public.

Importance of high-frequency monitoring for long time periods:
The ocean is a constantly changing environment that impacts both local and global communities. Scientists measure these changes, physical and chemical, over time and space scales. Recent reports (Pew Oceans Commission, 2003 and Ocean.US, 2003) have led to an increased recognition of the importance of continuous monitoring of the ocean and how it changes. These measurements will enable us to improve weather and climate prediction and assess potential impacts on human activity. Regional interests vary and here we focus on near-shore processes and impacts on the coastal zone.

Currently, a majority of the measurements are made as a snapshot (one date-time-location) giving low-resolution modeling, potentially leaving out vital changes. High-resolution monitoring is used to gather data measuring ocean parameters on small temporal scales (i.e. minutes) over a longer period of time. This will enable us to “see” short-term trends, and track such events that result from both natural and man-made causes. Scientists can measure the changes, determine the duration and impact of episodic events (Figure 1). Such data, available on the web in real time, would enable managers to both estimate the time course of an event and implement a plan (e.g., beach closure, spill clean-up). The high-resolution data can be averaged to observe long-term patterns and trends (Figure 2).

Figure 1. High-frequency monitoring is needed to understand how natural changes and pollution events:

Figure 2. Long-term data sets provide baselines for determining environmental changes:

CI-CORE Locations:

(Click on the locations in the above image for additional information)

Fish Harbor; Port of Los Angeles, Terminal Island, California: (Longitude: -118.19500; Latitude: 33.75972)

Los Angeles River Mouth; Pier 4, Long Beach, California: (Longitude: -118.19500; Latitude: 33.75972)

Edge of Shelf Buoy: to be determined

Off Shore Buoy: to be determined

Dominguez Channel: to be determined


Water Quality Data from Real-time Sensors:

Real-time and archived water quality data from OSI’s locations can be found at: These data are viewable by time period and location but are not current screened for errors or spikes.

Once a month, the water quality sensor data are reviewed. Spikes and data that did not pass pre and post calibration procedures have been removed. QC’d data are posted here monthly for each site. Raw data and data for 2006 are available upon request.

Fish Harbor:January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
Los Angeles River Mouth:January 2007
February 2007
March 2007

Other Recorded Measurements:

Visual observations and other measurements are made approximately once a month at each location. Grab samples are taken for, phytoplankton, Nitrite-Nitrogen, Amonia Nitrogen, ortho-Phosphate, chlorophyll a via a flourometer, salinity via an autosalinity machine, dissolve oxygen via winkler titration, and bacteria via IDEXX quanitray 2000.

Fish Harbor:January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
Los Angeles River Mouth:January 2007
February 2007
March 2007

Instrumentation; Quality Assurance and Quality Control:

What and when do we measure?

  • Surface water is measured for temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorophyll fluorescence, and turbidity (below illustration)
  • Measurements are made every 6 minutes

Hydrolab ds5x

  • Temperature
  • Chlorophyll a
  • Turbidity
  • pH
  • Conductivity/ Salinity
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Internal Power from 12V C batteries
  • Internal data logging

Do you have questions about CI-CORE?
Contact SCMI at or contact Dr. Richard Pieper at 310-519-3176 x977