By Holly Rindge, Communications Manager
July 6, 2017
The deep purple spines of the sea urchin stood out among the dark browns and greens of the tidepool. At first glance, it appeared to be on the move towards an anemone tucked into the crevice of a rock; but when I took a closer look, the anemone was eating the last remaining pieces of the urchin (photo, at right, courtesy of cushooter21). As a SoCal native, I grew up spending afternoons at tidepools, always alert to see something new; but I had never seen this before.
Life in tidepools is dynamic, and discovering new sights or seeing species you haven’t seen before was part of the draw for more than 30 citizen scientists who participated in the Bioblitz at Pelican Cove marine protected area in Palos Verdes on June 30, 2017. Bioblitzes bring people together to photograph as many species as possible in a set location over a period of a few hours.
This was the 2nd annual Bioblitz at Pelican Cove organized in partnership by Aquarium of the Pacific, USC Sea Grant, and Terranea Resort. This Bioblitz is part of Snapshot Cal Coast, which is an annual statewide effort to get as many sightings of plants and animals living along the California Coast as possible over a 2-week period (June 23-July 2, 2017). Sharing these observations will help researchers to better understand marine life in California.
Citizen scientists at Pelican Cove saw a wide variety of species including ochre seastars, cone snails, sea hares, rock lice, and a high diversity of algae. Two species unusual in this area were also observed: button shells and brown tegula snails (photos, at right, courtesy of Gwen Noda). More than 500 photo observations were uploaded to the iNaturalist database, identifying 63 species in the tidepools.
Exploring tidepools and contributing to a community-based science effort is fun at any age. My daughter participated, and I was heartened to see five other middle and high school aged youth participating; future scientists and community members engaged in marine stewardship!
Visit the iNaturalist Pelican Cove Bioblitz Project website to see photos of species observed at Pelican Cove and learn more!
Check out a blog post from Terranea's Naturalist and Sustainability Leader about the bioblitz, here.