Coastal bioblitz provides living snapshot of sea life along California’s epic coastline


Snapshot Cal Coast (6/13 – 7/4) encourages communities from Del Norte to San Diego to connect with nature and explore the outdoors.

Megan Ely, Media Contact for the California Academy of Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 14, 2022) — This summer, California families have a perfect excuse to connect with nature and explore the beach, all while contributing to biodiversity science and conservation. From now through July 4, annual community science effort Snapshot Cal Coast returns for its seventh year of documenting the wondrous biodiversity along the California coast. This statewide bioblitz aims to explore and document nature beyond the state’s 124 marine protected areas by providing a crucial “snapshot in time” of the entire coastline. The multi-city event is part of the Academy’s Thriving California initiative to stop biodiversity loss and advocate for nature in the Golden State, calling on community scientists of all ages to make and share observations of the wildlife along our iconic—and ever-changing—coast.

Snapshot Cal Coast will include a series of bioblitz events where volunteers record plant, kelp, and animal sightings using the free mobile app iNaturalist, a community science platform powered by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic. Strike out on your own, join one of the Academy’s Bay Area bioblitzes, or find an event in your favorite coastal spot.

For both budding and veteran community scientists, participating is a snap:

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your mobile device.
  2. Find a local beach, tidepool, or coastal trail that you can access legally and safely.
  3. From now to July 4, take photos to make observations of wild plants, seaweeds, and animals along California’s coast. You can use your phone and the iNaturalist app, or you can use a camera and upload the photos to the iNaturalist website.
  4. Learn more as the iNaturalist community helps identify your observations.

“Community-contributed data is an incredibly powerful tool in monitoring the health of our coasts,” says Academy Co-Director of Community Science Rebecca Johnson. “With the ongoing threats of rising seas and warming temperatures, these real-time observations allow us to track coastal and marine health over time, helping scientists and resource managers to make informed conservation decisions and prevent further biodiversity loss.”

The goal of Snapshot Cal Coast is to learn as much as possible about coastal wildlife, but volunteers are encouraged to pay extra attention to the following “most-wanted” species that are affected by emerging diseases, changing ocean conditions, and other introduced species:

Members of the public visiting the coast during Snapshot Cal Coast are asked to observe the following tidepool etiquette:

  1. Observe things where you find them. Never remove animals, rocks, shells, seaweeds, or plants from the tidepools.
  2. Walk gently, taking care to avoid stepping on animals or seaweeds.
  3. Do not “roll” rocks. Animals living on the underside of rocks can only survive there.
  4. Be aware of the wildlife around you and try to minimize disturbances.
  5. Be careful! Tidepools and rocky shorelines are slippery, and tides and waves can catch you off guard. Never turn your back on the ocean.

Snapshot Cal Coast is coordinated by the California Academy of Sciences with support from the California Ocean Protection Council, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the MPA (Marine Protected Area) Collaborative Network. For more information about Snapshot Cal Coast, visit the Academy’s website and view observations here. 

When: June 13 – July 4, 2022

Bay Area Events

Organizing and participating partners

  • California Marine Protected Area Collaborative
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • California State Parks
  • Elkhorn Slough Reserve
  • Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation
  • Crystal Cove Conservancy
  • San Diego Natural History Museum
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
  • Santa Cruz Natural History Museum
  • Rotary Nature Center Friends
  • Lake Merritt Institute
  • Bay Nature
  • San Mateo County Parks
  • Sequoia Audubon
  • San Francisco Recreation and Parks
  • EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park
  • Port of San Francisco
  • Heal the Bay
  • Catalina Island Conservancy
  • Trinidad Coastal Land Trust
  • Save Our Shores
  • USC Sea Grant
  • Aquarium of the Pacific