We began our rocky shore monitoring at Blow Hole, where we have four permanent research sites. We then add four more random sampling sites to collect additional data. These sites are 30cm X 50cm rectangles, called quadrats. At all eight sites we count invertebrates (snails, mussels, barnalces etc.) and we use a plexi-glass grid to randomly select a point where we count the algae and invertebrates.
The data we collect informs the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary about the health of the rocky shore ecosystem. This information serves as a baseline or benchmark and aids management in addressing issues such as oil spills and invasive species. The data is also used to identify impacts from global climate change by detecting and tracking shifts in species range, distribution and abundance. The Sanctuary has been sampling at the Farallon Islands since 1992.