Snapshot Cal Coast Logo (outline of the state of CA with silhouette of animals and photo of intertidal seaweeds & a starfish.

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 by holding a series of bioblitzes up and down the coast. We focus on intertidal zones in 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 and with support from the MPA Collaborative Network and many, many other partners, we'll be 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


Get ready for next year, Snapshot Cal Coast 2019 will be June 1-16!

How to get involved

People in the tidepools observing seaweed and animals with lots of fog.

It's a snap to participate in Snapshot Cal Coast 2018:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app for iPhone or Android
  2. Create an account to start making observations
  3. Follow the Snapshot Cal Coast 2019 project
  4. Find a public event near you below (coming soon!)
  5. 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 (also coming soon) and in California State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Check out NOAA's tide table to find times for low tides near you
  6. Spread the word! Use our hashtag on social media #SnapshotCalCoast




What is Snapshot Cal Coast?

Sea amemones

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.


What are we looking for this year?

Juvenile starfish

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. 

Snapshot Cal Coast 2018 Most Wanted Species (2019 list is coming soon):

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.


Find an event near you! 2019 Coming Soon!

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.

Del Norte






San Francisco


San Mateo


Santa Cruz




San Luis Obispo


Santa Barbara




Los Angeles


Orange County


San Diego



Resources for bioblitz planners

Pink nudibranch, Okenia rosacea

Are you planning a bioblitz in your community? Check out our Bioblitz Hosting and Planning Guide for useful resources.


Join iNaturalist

Join iNaturalist

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.