Biodiversity, Baby

Every outing to the coast in Monterey County is an opportunity to encounter new, beautiful creatures. You might see the harbor seals pupping in Pacific Grove, a beautiful blue-green sea anemone at Ribera Beach in Carmel (pitured) or a long-legged Willet picking crabs out of the sand in windswept Marina. For the next three weeks, you have an opportunity to help document these creatures, and all the others you’ll inevitably encounter, for science.

Snapshot Cal Coast is an annual (since 2016) citizen science project run by the California Academy of Science where volunteers make observations about the plants, animals and seaweed they find on the California coast. All this data, used by scientists form the local to state levels, helps paint a point-in-time snapshot of the biodiversity of the coast. This year’s event runs from June 13 to July 4. To participate, download the iNaturalist app to your phone and make an account. From there, you’ll be able to join the “Snapshot Cal Coast 2022” project, head to the tidepools, beaches, marinas, harbors etc. and submit your observations. Any and all observations are welcome, but there is a “most wanted species” list to look out for as well, which includes some invasive seaweeds, crabs and mud snails. Remember: Tidepool gently, never remove animals and don’t leave trash behind. [TCL]

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