Entries in NatureBridge (2)


An Intertidal Expedition at Pillar Point

There are some fantastic low tides in the San Francisco Bay Area this time of year!

On this expedition, I joined my colleagues at NatureBridge as they collected specimens for the marine lab at the Golden Gate campus.

It’s always fun going to the tide pools with a group of people (the more sets of eyes, the more you can see), especially when most of them are friends and fellow naturalists. On many occasions during this trip, we had no idea where to look—between the spectacular sunset, the colorful nudibranchs, and a rainbow of anenomes, it was hard to take a break long enough to soak-in the beauty around us.

One thing I like to do whenever I make it to a tide pool is to look for something new—something I’ve never seen before. On this trip, the bright orange Spotted Dorid (Triopha maculata) and Sea Clown Triopha (Triopha catalinae) were both “firsts” for me—and, wow!

Another beautiful sunset in California. 



This weekend as part of the Rocky Shore Naturalist training program, I joined my colleagues from the California Academy of Sciences and the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary to welcome David Liittschwager, an author and photographer working with National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution.

David’s project is known as BioCube and its goals are document the biodiversity of one cubic foot of earth. With the help of his assistant, program participants, and several professional biologists to watch, count, and photograph the number of different living organisms that pass through a single cubic foot in a given habitat.

This weekend, we journeyed to Pillar Point near Half Moon Bay, California, a rocky tidal area with amazing animal and plant life. We explored massive mussel beds and tidal pools that contained colorful starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, abalone, crabs, snails, clams, nudibranchs, and a wide a variety of algae and sea grasses.

Throughout the day, we learned how to explain biodiversity concepts to fellow nature enthusiasts by encouraging them to think about the special ecosystem relationships and to cultivate a sense of place. One personal highlight was seeing an octupus for the first time in the wild!

David is also working with my colleagues at NatureBridge in the coming weeks to examine one cubic foot of Rodeo Pond and one cubic foot of terrestrial habitat along the South Lagoon Trail at our campus in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

I look forward to taking these lessons with me as I continue to develop my skills as a naturalist! 

BioCubes at the Pillar Point tide pools. © Adam C. Bad Wound.

David Liittschwager (right) assembles the BioCube. © Adam C. Bad Wound.