Pisaster ochraceus and tidepool diversity. Pillar Point, San Mateo County, CA
Snapshot Cal Coast is an annual California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity! We lead a campaign that encourages people to make and share observations of plants, animals, and seaweeds along the California coast using the iNaturalist app and work with partners to hold a series of coastal bioblitzes over two weeks every summer. We focus on intertidal zones in California State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), but we are interested in data from any coastal influenced habitats along the California Coast, including sandy beaches, bays, wetlands, and docks. Led by the California Academy of Sciences with support from the MPA Collaborative Network and many, many other partners, together we are creating a snapshot in time of where species are located along our coast. This work is supported by the California Ocean Protection Council.
Check out what we have done together over the last three years here.
Snapshot Cal Coast is June 1-16, 2019
What is Snapshot Cal Coast?
For 1-2 weeks every year, we mobilize and organize our amazing partners up and down the State of California to make and share observations of as many coastal species as possible.
From Del Norte to San Diego and everywhere in between, we work together to build an annual snapshot of biodiversity along the California coast that is useful for scientists at local, regional, and state levels. We are building our community of observers and recorders interested in documenting California coastal biodiversity and answer targeted research questions in support of California Marine Protected Areas.
Together, we are gathering the data needed to determine species ranges now against which we can measure and monitor changes in the future.
How to get involved
It's a snap to participate in Snapshot Cal Coast 2019:
- Download the iNaturalist app for iPhone or Android
- Create an account to start making observations
- Follow the Snapshot Cal Coast 2019 project
- Find a public event near you below.
- Head to the coast on your own or with a group between June 1st-16th! Make and share observations of plants and animals you see, especially species on our most wanted list and in California State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Check out NOAA's tide table to find times for low tides near you
- Spread the word! Use our hashtag on social media #SnapshotCalCoast
Find an event near you!
Here are the public events for Snapshot Cal Coast hosted by the Academy and our fantastic partners, listed by county north-to-south, then by date under each county. Follow the links to learn more. If you don't see your county listed, be sure to check back as we're still adding events. Also feel free to head out to the coast and make observations on your own or with your friends and family - any observation made using iNaturalist on the California Coast June 1-16 will count!
- Saturday, June 1: Sonoma Coast wildflower walk, hosted by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
- Saturday, June 8: Fort Ross bioblitz, hosted by Fort Ross Conservancy
- Wednesday, June 5: Duxbury Reef bioblitz, hosted by the California Academy of Sciences
- Sunday, June 9: Muir Beach bioblitz, hosted by the California Academy of Sciences
- Saturday, June 1: Albany Bulb bioblitz, hosted by Wholly H2O
- Thursday, June 6: Jack London Square docks bioblitz, hosted by Bay Nature
- Friday, June 7: Point Fermin tidepools bioblitz, hosted by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
- Saturday, June 8: Point Fermin tidepools bioblitz, hosted by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
- Sunday, June 9: Pelican Cove bioblitz, hosted by Aquarium of the Pacific, USC Sea Grant, and Terranea
- Saturday, June 8: Crystal Cove bioblitz, hosted by Crystal Cove Conservancy
- Monday, June 10: Dana Point intertidal bioblitz, hosted by the City of Dana Point
- Monday, June 10: Dana Point headlands bioblitz, hosted by the City of Dana Point
- Saturday, June 1: Tijuana River Valley hike, hosted by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers
- Wednesday, June 12: Torrey Pines State Reserve hike, hosted by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers
- Saturday, June 15: Famosa Slough hike, hosted by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers
What are we looking for this year?
Our goal is to document as many species as possible, from as many places as possible. We are, though, specifically interested in a handful of species and groups. These 'most wanted species' are introduced species, species for which we have limited data on their ranges, species whose ranges are affected by changing oceanic conditions and habitat modification, and species that are affected by emerging diseases,
Always remember to follow the tidepooling best practices for your safety and the protection of seaweeds and animals:
- Never remove any animals or seaweeds.
- Take care to step on bare rock wherever possible.
- Never move animals from place to place.
- Never 'roll' rocks.
We have put together a "most wanted list" based on our own questions and in consultation with others in the scientific community, California Coastal Commission, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Click on a species name to see the existing observations of each species in California on iNaturalist.
Most Wanted Species
1. Species of Puff Ball Alage Colpomenia spp.
3. The rockweed species, Hesperophycus californicus
4. European Green Crabs, Carcinus maenas
Look for and document as many species in each of these groups are you can, plus all the other species you can find!
- Shelled mollusks
- Sea slugs
- Sea stars
How we are using these data?
Citizen science can generate biodiversity data at scales intractable for other approaches. We are building the capacity to use citizen science observations to monitor Marine Protected Areas across California.
Citizen science – the involvement of non-scientists in the production of scientific knowledge – can generate biodiversity data at spatial and temporal scales difficult to achieve by other approaches. Our team – a collaboration between the California Academy of Sciences, the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) – is building the capacity to use citizen science observations to understand and monitor biodiversity across California’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.
Over the last decade, the Citizen Science team at the Academy has been developing a community of naturalists – scientists and non-scientists alike – working together to document biodiversity, connecting people to their local nature and simultaneously collecting data critical to science and management. In particular, a number of ongoing Academy citizen science initiatives focus on California’s coastal ecosystems. These include Snapshot Cal Coast – an annual California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity – as well as more frequent but more spatially limited community bioblitzes and intertidal monitoring.
All these biodiversity observations are collected and aggregated using a common platform – iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a global network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists contributing biodiversity observations over space and time. It achieves this via a set of technological tools, which facilitate the recording, sharing and visualization of detailed biodiversity information.
The newest member of the Academy Citizen Science Team, Giovanni Rappacuiolo, is developing innovative approaches and tools (here is an example) to make use of the Academy’s citizen science efforts and iNaturalist community-contributed observations in support of the State of California’s long-term MPA Monitoring Action Plan. Our aims are twofold. First, to provide recommendations for increasing the usefulness of ongoing citizen science data collection and exploiting iNaturalist observations to understand and monitor MPA biodiversity and to inform MPA management. Second, to generate knowledge of California coastal ecology and understand the effects of changing ocean conditions, by examining spatial and temporal variation in community diversity and its drivers, and documenting and understanding species’ range shifts.
Our bioblitzes are powered by iNaturalist, our in-house, citizen science platform. It's a community-powered website and app that makes it easy to upload and share your observations in the field and to get help from other users with flora and fauna IDs.