California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Community Science for CA Naturalists

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

 Project Name Sandy Beach Monitoring Project
 Organization Name LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students)
 Project Website
 Organization Website
 Other Contact Information

Since there multiple National Marine Sanctuary's go to this website to find the appropriate contact person.

 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) Monitor the abundance and distribution of the Mole crab - one of the most important herbivores on the beach, and a vital link in the sandy beach food web. Significant changes in mole crab populations can be an indicator of a larger problem in the ecosystem.

 Participant Activities Groups use rigorous monitoring techniques to survey mole crabs. If mole crabs are present in a sample, count and determine the size and gender of each crab found.

 Data Entry Website, Data Sheets
 Other Participant Activities An optional project is to dissect Mole crabs to inspect for a parasitic worm within their midgut.

Mole crabs are hosts to a parasitic worm in the Phylum Acanthocephala. When birds and sea otters eat infected crabs, they too can become infected. We monitor these worms to learn more about the life cycle, seasonal cycles, and prevalence of the parasites in the populations of mole crabs along our coast.

 System Studied Invertebrates
 Geographic Scope Regional
 Region All (see 'geographic scope')
 Location Along the coastal sandy beachs
 Location - Map Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones and Channel Islands
 Time Commitment Other (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications Most of the youth participants are of High School age.

Equipment needed can be borrowed from the LiMPETS coordinator.

 Volunteer Training Leaders will be required to take training from the LiMPETS coordinator.

 How will the findings be used? Trend analysis to determine the population growth or decline of Mole Crabs.

 Other Information Each group will schedule monitoring time with the LiMPETS coordinator in their area.

A significant commitment by the teacher or adult leader is necessary to coordinate this project.


If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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