Beach Ecosystems of Southern California

What's hiding at the beach? Take a closer look...

Our sandy beaches are part of the Southern California lifestyle but not for just surfers and sunbathers.  Beaches support the ‘lifestyle’ of many plants and animals - indeed an entire sandy beach ecosystem!

Explore this website to learn about plants that build dunes, fish that run onto land, and crabs that move incredible distances migrating with the tide.  Discover the dynamic process of sand movement and the impacts of beach grooming, coastal armoring, and nourishment on beaches and beach ecosystems. Understand challenges and success stories related to climate change impacts on beaches. Lastly, consider what you can do by reading the best practices information for beach goers, managers and city/county planners

Important Sandy Beach Functions:

  • Beaches support a diverse ecosystem, including invertebrates that are prey for shorebirds and fish.
  • Beaches provide habitat for marine mammals, threatened plants and shorebirds, and other wildlife.
  • Beaches filter seawater, recycle nutrients and buffer wave energy.

Southern California Sandy Beaches Are a Paradise for People and Animals Alike; There Should Be Room for Everyone to...

Explore the Sandy Beach Ecosystems of Southern California

  • University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography