An iNat Introduction to Tidepooling

One thing that I (and I’m betting many other iNaturalist users) notice is that once we start iNatting, we begin to get curious about everything - not just whatever taxa or habitat we were originally into. Several years ago, if it wasn’t a herp, spider, or nudibranch, I generally walked past it. But the more I went out, especially with other naturalists who had different interests than myself, the more I noticed and photographed many types of wildlife I’d previously disregarded, such as birds, butterflies, plants, and even lichens.

So in that spirit, I’m planning on making a series of iNat Introductions to different types of naturalizing throughout the year. For each one I’ll interview and follow a naturalist or two who’s experienced in the field and make a short video that includes their advice and goes over equipment, techniques, ethics and safety - just enough to get beginners off the ground and making observations.

With Northern California’s best tides coming in December and January, I set out with Rebecca Johnson (@rebeccafay) and Alison Young (@kestrel), the California Academy of Science’s Citizen Science leaders, for an introduction to tidepooling. Rebecca and Alison are experienced marine intertidal explorers and their enthusiasm and educational background were perfect for this. They run the Intertidal Biodversity Survey at Pillar Point project (nearly 11,500 observations!) among other programs and are all about iNat. Liam O’Brien (@robberfly), Jonathan “JC” Carpenter (@reallifeecology), and Josie Iselin (@josieiselin) also make cameos.

I hope this video encourages you to get out and explore the intertidal zone wherever you live, it’s an easy way to discover a plethora of organisms that we normally don’t get a close look at.

Up next will be an intro to mushrooming with Christian Schwarz (@leptonia), and I’m also planning intros to birding, dock fouling, mothing, and more. If there’s a type of naturalizing you’d like to see, or if you have any tidepooling tips of your own, write them them in the comments!

- Tony

Posted by tiwane tiwane, January 31, 2017 06:05

Comments

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Great video. I need to find some tidepool areas where you can pick stuff up. I usually go to Moss Beach and the rangers there are all over it. That place would be loved to death if they didn't but it is hard to really study things without using the little water tank.

Posted by vermfly over 2 years ago (Flag)
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Not sure they have the wide audience of tide pools and birding, but there are quite a few people on here who have made a niche in one hard to ID group or another. Some of these may be worth look into.

@psyllidhipster -True bugs
@silversea_starsong -Lady beetles
@gcsnelling -Ants
@cedric_lee -Snails and slugs
@rjadams55 -Spiders

Posted by glmory over 2 years ago (Flag)
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Fantastic video @tiwane , definitely makes me want to go out tidepooling sometime with some of these tips in mind (I could really use one of those waterproof cameras). I agree that being here on inat and being exposed to people with interests and passions for different critters makes me more compelled to learn more about all sorts of things that I wouldn't normally pay much attention to, and I love that.

Thanks @glmory for the shoutout, I will go ahead and second everyone on that list (except for me) if only because I'm not sure I know how to make things like scale insects and whiteflies even half as interesting as tidepooling :)

Posted by psyllidhipster over 2 years ago (Flag)
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Great video! Looking forward to the series.

A note on my specialty...Ladybeetles are a very niche topic and finding those specifically is an ill-advised challenge. If you are spending your time looking for those only you can go a day without finding more than the 2 common species. You will just generally turn them up will beating, sweeping or generally interacting with plants. Most observations of ladybeetles are incidental rather than specifically looked for. So, my advice in covering that topic is an intro to those collection techniques listed above, which reward you with not only beetles but many rarely seen true bugs and other insects.

Posted by silversea_starsong over 2 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

@glmory - we're definitely lucky to have the folks you listed on iNat, but I've envisioned this series as covering techniques for finding organisms, and less about identification. But I think a "Bug Hunting" video that discusses things like beat sheets, log flipping, etc. is definitely on the docket.

@psyllidhipster - getting a waterproof camera totally changed my tidepooling! I'm not constantly worried about my more expensive camera, and I can focus on exploration and finding things. I'm also bothering fewer animals. The macro setting is quite excellent as well.

Posted by tiwane over 2 years ago (Flag)
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What model is that waterproof camera, @tiwane? I would like to get one with a good macro mode.

Posted by vermfly over 2 years ago (Flag)
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@vermfly, I use the Olympus TG-4, and many of the folks in the video use the Panasonic Lumix DMC- TS6. Here's a comparison page: http://cameradecision.com/compare/Panasonic-Lumix-DMC-TS6-vs-Olympus-Tough-TG-4

Posted by tiwane over 2 years ago (Flag)
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Cool. Those are both pretty pricey. I just got one of the superzoom cameras for taking record shots of birds at Christmas. Hard to justify spending another couple hundred on a second camera. I might have to wait a while. I might have to settle for photo tanks.

http://www.tenkarabum.com/micro-fishing-photo-tank.html

http://www.tenkarabum.com/3x5-photo-tank.html

Posted by vermfly over 2 years ago (Flag)
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I have such a girl crush on these two! They are so sweet, welcoming and know EVERYTHING about the Pillar Point tidepools and beyond. Happy to see a post about Fitzgerald Marine Reserve - and the fact that it's a no touch area. It's also a harbor seal rookery. If they're hauled out on the beach visitors can use the stairs on the south side of the reserve to get to Seal Cove. Tidepoolers might also consider bringing a plastic magnifier out with them as well (to areas that allow touching). The details on the nudibranchs are amazing. Oh - one more thing...if you're into nudibranchs and tidepooling - follow Nudibranchmom!

Posted by batstar over 2 years ago (Flag)

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