Wednesday May 11, 2022


For Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Ph.D., of the California Academy of Sciences, these tide pools near Pillar Point in San Mateo County act as a kind of early warning system.

She and her volunteers are photographing a variety of organisms to monitor what’s thriving in the coastal pools, or not.

“And the work that we’re doing at the Academy is taking those individual observations, and we’re building what’s called an early warning and forecasting system for biodiversity, change along the California coast,” Johnson explains.

That data could be especially important this year, with scientists predicting a possible marine heat wave reaching the northern California coast by fall. A number of similar warming events, including an unusually strong one nicknamed the Blob, have formed in the last decade, sometimes taking a damaging toll on the local habitat and the marine life it supports.

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