Tidepools


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FREE California Tidepools App

Do you have an iPhone or iPad? Download the free California Tidepools app at the Apple store! This fun app has plenty of photos and a wealth of information about 48 of the most common plants and animals found in our tidepools.
Download the California Tidepools App:

» App for iPhone (30 MB)
» App for Android (13 MB)

What is a Tidepool?

The rocky reefs that are exposed at low tide support a rich and diverse array of sea life. The plants and animals that call tidepools home are unique in that they can thrive under harsh conditions. Constantly changing water level, crashing surf and exposure to drying sunlight and air are a few of the challenges that sea life must meet in order to survive here.

Visit these web sites to learn more about the plants and animals that live in California tidepools:

» LiMPETS Monitoring Website
» Marine Science
» SeaNet (Stanford University)

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Explore Tidepools with Care

kids exploring tidepools

Want to help protect California’s tidepools? Adopt these tidepool etiquette tips next time you visit the shore.

Watch Quietly - Look closely for a few minutes – you’ll see more.
Every surface of rock and pool can be a home to someone. Barnacles and many creatures are hiding to escape the bill of hungry birds. Examine the spaces between mussels and under seaweed for tiny snails and crabs.

Be Gentle - Touch lightly so you don’t disturb seashore life.
Sea life has adapted to live with crashing waves but not poking fingers. You may encounter stinging cells or pinching claws if animals are scared.

Step Carefully - Avoid crushing the animals and plants.
Animals with hard shells like barnacles, snails and limpets are easily crushed under foot. Soft seaweeds are slippery but fragile, too. Step around sea life when walking.

Leave them where they are - Leave the animals, plants rocks or shells where you find them.
Be respectful, return animals to where you found them. Flip rocks back to their original position.

Focus on Black Abalone Haliotis cracherodii

Abalone are a type of marine snail. A large foot holds tight to the rocks while their shell protects from predators and crashing waves. Holes in the shell, called respiratory pores, aid water and oxygen flow and waste transport. They feed mostly upon pieces of seaweeds that are carried in by the tide. Female abalone can lay millions of eggs which may travel with the currents for a week or more until the tiny larvae reach a favorable new home. Due to natural predators and unpredictable ocean conditions, very few survive to become adults.

Once abundant throughout California, populations of black abalone crashed in the 1980s and 1990s due to changes in ocean climate, human impacts and disease. With little luck so far in captive breeding, the road to recovery depends on safeguarding the abalone’s habitat. Black abalone are now protected as a Federally Endangered Species. You can help them survive by adopting some of the tidepool etiquette tips on this page.

To learn more about California’s abalone and their status, visit these sites:

» NOAA Fisheries
» California Department of Fish and Game
» Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMON)

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