Assessment of rocky intertidal habitats for the California marine protected area monitoring program

Project Number
Project Date Range
Funding Agency
California Ocean Protection Council (OPC)
Focus Area(s)
Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

California’s rocky intertidal habitats are rare, covering around five square miles statewide, but highly important to the state in terms of biodiversity, and recreational, cultural and economic value. However, rocky intertidal habitats are also seriously threatened by a variety of local and regional anthropogenic disturbances, including overexploitation, disease, pollution, habitat destruction, and invasive species; they are also particularly susceptible to climate related impacts. Because of these concerns, rocky intertidal habitats were targeted for protection in the Marine Life Protection Act Master Plan and are listed as a priority for monitoring in the Action Plan.

This project aggregated historical biological and environmental data dating back 20–30 years from a variety of sources, and collected additional data through surveys inside and outside MPAs using standardized protocols that have been used to monitor these habitats since the 1980s.

The data collected through this project allowed for analyses of population, community, and species distribution changes, and other potential network-level effects. The project also developed web-based data visualization tools for use by researchers, resource managers, and the general public.

Project monitoring sites

This project plans to conduct monitoring at the following Tier I sites (listed from north to south):map of survey locations

  • MacKerricher SMCA
  • Point Arena SMR
  • Sea Lion Cove SMCA
  • Saunders Reef SMCA
  • Del Mar Landing SMR
  • Stewarts Point SMR
  • Salt Point SMCA
  • Bodega Head SMR
  • Bodega Head SMCA
  • Point Reyes SMR
  • Duxbury Reef SMCA
  • Montara SMR
  • Ano Nuevo SMR
  • Greyhound Rock SMCA
  • Natural Bridges SMR
  • Asilomar SMR
  • Carmel Bay SMCA
  • Point Lobos SMR
  • Point Sur SMR
  • Piedras Blancas SMR
  • Cambria SMCA
  • White Rock SMCA
  • Point Buchon SMR
  • Vandenberg SMR
  • Point Conception SMR
  • Campus Point SMCA
  • Harris Point SMR
  • Scorpion SMR
  • Carrington Point SMR
  • Anacapa Island SMCA
  • Anacapa Island SMR
  • Point Dume SMCA
  • Point Dume SMR
  • Laguna Beach SMR
  • Dana Point SMCA
  • Santa Barbara Island SMR
  • Blue Cavern Onshore SMCA
  • Swami's SMCA
  • San Diego-Scripps Cosatal SMCA
  • South La Jolla SMR
  • Cabrillo SMR



Principal Investigators
profile photo of Peter Raimondi Peter Raimondi
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)
Co-principal Investigators
profile photo of Matthew Bracken Matthew Bracken
University of California, Irvine
Jayson Smith
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly, Pomona)
Jennifer Burnaford
California State University, Fullerton (CSU Fullerton)
Rani Gaddam
University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)
Cascade Sorte
University of California, Irvine
Jennifer Caselle
University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Erika Delemarre
Long-Term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS)

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