About CalCOFI

CalCOFI conducts quarterly cruises off southern & central California to collect a suite of environmental and marine ecosystem data. These data are used to study the California Current, manage its living resources, and monitor the indicators of El Niño and climate change.

Program Overview

CalCOFI is a long-term ecosystem research program off the coast of California that holistically studies the physics, chemistry, and biology of the ocean to inform the sustainable management of marine ecosystems in the context of climate variability and change.

CalCOFI conducts quarterly cruises from north of San Francisco Bay to San Diego and extends from the coast to 300 miles (500 km) offshore, spanning state, national, and international waters.

CalCOFI is a unique partnership between government and academic organizations including NOAA’s Fisheries Service (federal partner), California Department of Fish & Wildlife (state partner), and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (academic partner).

Figure Caption: Map displaying the 113 CalCOFI stations; color-coded by jurisdiction: state (orange), federal (blue), international (red). Certain CalCOFI stations sample within marine conservation zones, such as the National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS) and the Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCA). For a more detailed description and to download a csv or kml file of station location and information, please see Station Positions.

CalCOFI hosts an annual conference, maintains a publicly-accessible data server, and curates preserved plankton samples ranging back to the 1950’s.

CalCOFI hydrographic & plankton data are distributed to the community for use without restriction. Unless otherwise noted, data can be considered to be final data which have been evaluated using CalCOFI data quality control procedures.

Annual CalCOFI Reports and individual Cruise Data Reports are available as PDFs on this website and at the UCSD library. You may also contact the data manager about preliminary data availability.

CalCOFI History

CalCOFI has been surveying the California Current since 1949. Check out our History page for information about the origins of CalCOFI and links to historical resources.

Interested in learning how we collect our data?

Find information about our station & underway operations, survey equipment, sampling methods, station positions, and much more.