Cal-NEMO provides comprehensive information on introduced marine and estuarine invertebrates and algae in California. The database contains everything from brief overviews of species and taxonomic groups to detailed records on the history of spread. The creation of NEMESIS and Cal-NEMO has involved years of research and literature review, and remains an ongoing project. Records are updated as new species are reported and new research is available.

Each species record contains:

  • Photographic images and descriptions;
  • Information on the biology, ecology, and effects (impacts);
  • Global distribution maps of native and introduced range;
  • Mechanisms (vectors) of introduction;
  • History of introduction and spread;
  • References to available literature for the species and invasion information.

Searching the Database

You can search the database by clicking here. Individual species records can be found by using common or scientific names.

You can also conduct an advanced search for specific taxonomic groups, bioregions, introduction vectors or years.

Background Information:

The California Ballast Water Management Act of 1999 initiated baseline surveys by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to document the distribution of nonindigenous species in the state’s coastal and estuarine waters. The baseline inventory was supplemented by existing data, including historical surveys and literature sources. Pursuant to the Marine Invasive Species Act of 2003, these data, and those from subsequent surveys authorized by this Act, were first published online as the California Aquatic Non-native Organism Database (CANOD) in 2007. The Coastal Ecosystems Protection Act of 2006 extended the monitoring program indefinitely to enable tracking new introductions or spread of existing nonindigenous species populations. The Act also requires annual updates to the on-line database. In 2012, CDFW agreed to merge CANOD records with the National Estuarine and Marine Exotic Species Information System (NEMESIS).


Please use the following citation when referencing Cal-NEMO.

Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT. 2018
California Non-native Estuarine and Marine Organisms (Cal-NEMO) System.
Access Date:


We thank Sharon Shiba from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for her time and effort in improving California records in NEMESIS. We thank the many scientists, students, resource managers, and staff who have generously contributed time and expertise to help us develop and improve the content of NEMESIS and Cal-NEMO over many years. We gratefully acknowledge the exceptional effort, advice, and patience provided by Gail Ashton, Rolando Bastida-Zavala, Luisa Borges, Stephen Cairns, Dale Calder, Lina Ceballos, Marcarena Ros Clemente, Eugene Coan, Jeff Cordell, Daphne Fautin, Steve Foss, Melissa Frey, Pam Fuller, Jeff Goddard, Leslie Harris, Erica Keppel, Francis Kerchoff, Gretchen Lambert, Rafael Lemaitre, David Lindburg, Mark Luckenbach, Linda McCann, Gary McDonald, Claudia Mills, Monaca Noble, Bernard Picton, Vasily Radashevsky, Rosana Rocha, Lea-Anne Roberts, Christina Simkanin, and Judith Winston.