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A number of the 26 offshore oil and gas platforms off California may be nearing the end of their economic lives. Decisions as to the disposition of these platforms will be based on a number of parameters, including the biological role of the structures. One issue that has arisen is the possible contamination of fishes living around platforms resulting from contaminants released during drilling and production. If significant contamination is occurring, it would be expected to impair the reproductive abilities of impacted fishes. One form of reproductive impairment is atresia, the abnormal reabsorption of oocytes that are destined to be spawned. Atresia has been widely used as an indicator of pollutant-related reproductive impairment in fishes. We examined the occurrence of atretic oocytes in Pacific sanddab, Citharichthys sordidus, collected near two offshore platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel (B and Gilda) and from two natural reference sites (off the east end of Santa Cruz Island and in mid-channel off Rincon). While pronounced atresia was observed in a few fish at one natural site and one platform, there was no evidence of widespread pronounced atresia at any of the four sites.
Published accounts of the Carpinteria avifauna, collected from an upper Pleistocene asphalt deposit near Carpinteria, California, were based on only a small portion of the collection. The present paper is a complete review of the avifauna, including information on previously unpublished and unidentified material. The avifauna contains 79 species, twenty-seven of which have been added to the published avifauna from the deposits. Included among these are the first fossil records of Rallus limicola, Tringa melanoleuca, Tyrannus verticalis, and Piranga ludoviciana. Specimens from the deposit previously assigned to Corvus caurinus are referred to C. brachyrhynchos.
Seabird occurrence, distribution and behavior were assessed during cetacean surveys conducted between 2006–2007 in Santa Monica Bay, California. Gulls were most sighted year-round (55.63%), followed by brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis; 19.0%), terns (6.61%) and Western grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis; 6.53%). Gulls, shearwaters, and pelicans were often found foraging with short-beaked and long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis, D. capensis), and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) near underwater canyons. Behavioral budget showed a predominance of passing by and floating activities. Feeding was observed in 6.5% of the sightings. This study provides baseline data for future seabird monitoring, conservation and management in the study area.