LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) is a citizen science program for students, educators and volunteer groups. Citizen scientists monitor the coastal ecosystems of California’s national marine sanctuaries, increasing awareness and stewardship of these important areas. The statewide program connects over 6,000 citizens annually to the ocean, involves them directly in a hands-on scientific endeavor and increases their knowledge of the marine environment, creating a new generation of informed and engaged ocean stewards.
Beyond the educational value of the program, the power of LiMPETS lies in the large quantity of data collected at more than 60 sites and over 600 miles of California coastline. Annually, thousands of people collect baseline data. By monitoring, teachers, students and community groups become the eyes and ears for our coastal beaches and rocky shores, detecting changes and possible problems, often before anyone else. LiMPETS data have informed the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report, were published in the National Marine Sanctuary Conservation Series, and helped establish a baseline of key indicator species for the new system of California Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).