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The Grunion are Running

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LAist is happy to announce the opening of grunion season--the time of year when these silvery sardine-like fishes come ashore in waves for nighttime spawning runs. The uncannily "scheduled" runs follow the phases of the moon, and you can ogle the spawning frenzy after dark at local beaches.

Sadly, grunion are no longer as abundant as they may have once been--they continue to be at risk from beach grooming, beach erosion, and pollution. For a better chance to see grunion, you can join the hunt this season with Pepperdine University professor (and grunion researcher) Karen Martin. Her "Grunion Greeter" program takes groups to observe grunion on nights and at beaches where grunion are most likely to be found. In return, grunion run-goers answer questions about their experinece via a web survey. Information provided by the Grunion Greeters is immediately used by scientists and beach managers, and is leading to new insights on sandy beach ecology.

The next Grunion Workshop is this Thursday at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Go to for more info and a schedule of upcoming workshops.

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Says Karen: "A grunion run is truly a natural wonder and one of the most beautiful sights in the world."

Thanks to Bill Hootkins for the photo.