Long-term monitoring is needed to be able to evaluate the health of California’s intertidal systems. The intertidal habitats along the West Coast of the United States are among the most diverse and productive of any region in the world. Despite their ecological significance and protected status, these habitats are being increasingly impacted by human activities (directly by harvesting and trampling, indirectly through oil spills, pollution and litter). In addition, there are dramatic geologic and climatic disruptions (earthquakes, severe storms, and global climate change) that could generate change in the balance of life along our shores. By monitoring, we establish a baseline from which we can better address current and future impacts.
Monitoring programs, like the LiMPETS network, connect students to the ocean, involve them directly in a real scientific endeavor, and increase their awareness of, and interest in, the marine environment. Our goal is to create a new generation of informed and engaged ocean stewards.