What is LiMPETS?

LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) is a community science program for students, educators and volunteer groups. Community 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 an immersive 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).

The LiMPETS Network developed a 5-year Strategic Plan to meet our mission and fulfill our vision of inspiring the next generation to understand, value, and participate in science.

Why Monitor?

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.


The LiMPETS network is a collaborative program with many committed partners and contributors. We are grateful to have such a dedicated LiMPETS team that continually connects teachers and students with the ocean. Special thanks to Dr. John Pearse, Dawn Osborn and Christy Roe for bringing their expertise to the Rocky Intertidal Monitoring Program. Additional thanks to Dr. Jennifer Saltzman and the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association for their contribution of the Sandy Beach Monitoring Program, website and database.

Special thanks to the following organizations who, along with individual donors, make this program possible. Support for this program has been provided by: National Marine Sanctuary FoundationDavid and Lucile Packard FoundationDisney Worldwide Conservation FundCalifornia Coastal Commission, California Coastal Conservancy, California Sea GrantFriends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Kimball Foundation,  NOAA’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training Program, and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.