There are numerous pictures in this article. The
purpose of these pictures is to not only show what people see
and discover in tide pools, but also to remind people of the
three laws of survival in tide pools. Examine each picture
with these items in mind 1) keep from being washed away by the
waves at high tide 2) keep from drying out by the sun at low
tide 3) keep from being eaten (GMA 1998).
In Tide Pools Part 1 (Blundell 2006) I described
the general composition of tide pools. This article will
feature a look at the relationship between tide pools and
humans. The first decision I had to make when writing this was
whether I should cover the relationship from an impact point of
view, or from a visitor’s point of view. I concluded it would
be most useful to look at this situation from a visitor’s point
of view. From a visitor’s point of view I believe more
pictures and fewer figures would be called for. I hope this
article is what the readers are looking for. With that in mind
I selected one of the (if not the most) popular and well known
coastlines; namely the Pacific Coast of the United
The Pacific Coast of the United States is the quintessential
seaside area. The coast line is over 1500 miles long (much
longer if you don’t measure as the crow flies). It serves as
the dividing line where land meets water. The California
Coastal Trail itself provides a 1,300 mile trail connecting the
state’s northern and southern borders (Morabito et al, 2003).
This area could certainly be argued as the most studied and
visited coastline in the world. For that reason I chose to
specifically explore this area.
In order to accurately report on this area I would have
needed for more time (several months) to make observations and
to record data. That simply wasn’t feasible for the amount of
time I (and colleagues) had available. Fortunately it would
have been useless considering the numerous (and fabulous)
studies that have already been conducted. Now let us look at
the prime example of coastal visitation.
Widely known around the world the Southern California area
is home to the great Eastern Pacific beaches. Popular for all
sorts of reasons you’d be hard pressed to find someone who
hasn’t heard of Santa Monica, Long Beach, Huntington Beach,
Newport Beach, or San Diego. A tourist area and Mecca for
recreation; for both travelers and locals. Case in point, in
2004 visitors to San Diego County spent 5.9 billion US dollars
(San Diego North Press Room, 2006).
Just the name “Monterey Bay” brings several images to the
minds of people. For aquarists and hobbyists I’m sure the
first thing you thought of was the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
However for 50,000 people annually the name Monterey Bay means
an area where they will enter the intertidal zone (Kimura et
al, 2003). Did you read that correctly? Fifty-thousand
people, or an average of 137 people per day, or an average of
11 people per hour during a 12 hour day, or an average of one
person every 5 minutes. Indeed this area is heavily visited.
In fact those 50,000 people entering the intertidal zone only
make up 15% of the total number of people visiting the Monterey
Bay shoreline area! And if you think this is a lot of people
consider that other popular areas in California have over twice
the number of visitors (Kimura et al, 2003). Wow! With the
current population growth rate (world wide and locally)
combined with the ever present desire for families to visit the
coasts, it is a safe bet to say that these numbers will
continue to climb.
The San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Cape Disappointment,
Tillamook Head, Newport, and Cape Blanco; just a few of the
recognizable locations of Eastern Pacific marine destinations.
All of these aforementioned places of course being located
along the U.S. Pacific Northwest coastline. And what a
coastline it is. As the Oregon Coast Visitors Association says “There is no end to the enjoyable recreational opportunities
along the Oregon coast.” (OCVA, 2006).
The Eastern Pacific coastline follows the shores of 13
countries. The diversity of flora and fauna is immense. Just
by looking at the types of animals found along the coast of the
U.S. we begin to see what variety lives in the long stretching
ecosystem. Imagine what exists in the tropical regions when
considering all that lives in the far less diversified areas of
the United States coast line. There certainly is much to see,
and many people seeing it. The Western Coast of the United
Sates (Eastern Pacific coast) is certainly one of the most
significant “lines in the sand” where people cross over into
the world of marine life.
Many thanks to my friends and colleagues for their help with
this article. Because this article showcases photographs
ranging widely in location the help of others was invaluable.
Some very dear friends and colleagues were quick to help.
Significant photographic contributions were provided by Michael
Lindsay, Brady Pulsipher and Dion Richins. I am very thankful
for their help, friendship, photographs, and most importantly
enthusiasm to share their stories and memories with the rest of
us. So to Mike, Brady, and Dion- Thank You.
Adam Blundell M.S. works in Marine Ecology, and in Pathology
for the University of Utah. He is also Director of The Aquatic & Terrestrial Research Team, a group which utilizes
research projects to bring together hobbyists and scientists.
His vision is to see this type of collaboration lead to further
advancements in aquarium husbandry. While not in the lab he is
the former president of one of the Nation’s largest
hobbyist clubs, the Wasatch Marine Aquarium Society
(www.utahreefs.com). Adam has earned a BS
in Marine Biology and an MS in the Natural Resource and
Health fields. Adam can be found at
- Blundell, A., (2006) “Tide Pools Part 1: An Introduction to
Tide Pools”, http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/2/lines,
- GMA, (1998) “Tidepool: Window into the Sea”, Gulf of Maine
Aquarium, website publication, http://octopus.gma.org/katahdin/tidepool.html,
- Kimura, S., et al (2003) “Monterey Bay National Marine
Sanctuary: A Comparative Intertidal Study and User Survey,
Point Pinos, California”, Tenera Environmental, San Luis
Obispa, California, USA.
- Morabito. P., et al (2003) “Completing the California
Coastal Trail”. Coastal Conservancy, California USA.
- OCVA (2006) ” Recreation on the Coast” Oregon Coast Visitors
Association, web posting
- San Diego North Press Room (2006) “San Diego North
Convention & Visitors Bureau Generated $33.8 Million in
Visitor Spending to San Diego North in 2004”, web posting http://www.sandiegonorth.com/pressroom/pr-20.asp,