How can we better protect the biodiversity of the rocky intertidal zones?

Monica Tydlaska

The SciFund Challenge

$2,000Next Goal
This project was funded on:
7 March 2014
We are looking at what affects the biodiversity of rocky intertidal sites (tide pools) in San Diego, CA. How does visitor awareness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) correlate to species biodiversity in the tide pools? If increased visitor awareness equals greater biodiversity, this will provide substantial justification for increased community outreach efforts, improved visitor education, better signage and more enforcement at MPA tide pools.


Budget Overview

Since I have received my first funding goal, donations received will be used for supplies and to offset transportation costs to and from intertidal sampling locations (currently paid out of pocket).

If you have an unwanted iPad you wish to donate, please email me!

For this project, I would like to go totally paperless for conducting the in person interviews! An Apple iPad Air (32gig with Wifi) ($599+tax) will allow me to collect and record interview data on site and in real time. Photos and videos also can be taken on the iPad and uploaded seamlessly to my Google drive account for storage. The iPad will also be used for data collection while I am monitoring visitor usage and species biodiversity sampling. This will allow me to save paper and ink. The Lifeproof iPad Case ($129+tax) is waterproof, scratch proof, and drop proof to protect our investment.

Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Premiere 12 ($98+tax for both) will be used to blur out visitor faces, for video production and imaging cleanup . Microsoft Suite including Microsoft Access will be purchased for data collection ($198+tax for two years on iPad and MacBook Pro).

Visitor usage sampling supplies for volunteers include pencils, waterproof paper, toner, ink, nylon tote bags and clipboards. Seconds Pro App ($4.99 x 8 volunteers) allows me to create individualized interval timers for my volunteer minions to conduct Visitor activity sampling.

Biodiversity sampling supplies include pvc piping, string, and glue to make quadrats.

Meet the Researcher


Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Ecology from San Diego State University. My two undergraduate majors were earned at U.C. Santa Cruz in Biology and Environmental Studies. My passion for the ocean and its protection came from a family trip to Hawaii where I learned to love the ocean and wanted to do everything I could to protect that experience for my children and others. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone by personally conducting over 600 visitor interviews in order to produce accurate data. My goal is to provide justification for improving resource management practices such as increasing community outreach efforts, improving visitor education, providing better signage and encouraging additional regulation enforcement at all tide pools.

Endorsed by


Monica's study will be instrumental in determining how well the public is informed regarding Marine Protected Area...See more

Professor at San Diego State University


The Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) is keenly interested in the results of this research effort. Our...See more

MARINe Manager, DOI Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Fund $10 and more
Plankton Level
A thank you email.

Fund $25 and more
Kelp Level
A personalized thank you card.

Fund $50 and more
Sea Urchin Level
Same as above and a signed photograph of a study site of your choosing.

Fund $100 and more
Sea Star Level
Same as above AND a photo mug of a study site of your choosing.

Fund $250 and more
Abalone Level
Same as above AND spend an afternoon in the intertidal with Monica at a study site of your choosing.

Fund $500 and more
Lobster Level
Same as above AND a personal mention in my masters thesis acknowledgements.

Relevant publications:
Bally, R., & Griffiths, C. L. (1989). Effects of human trampling on an exposed rocky shore. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 34(1-2), 115–125. doi:10.1080/00207238908710519

Becker, B. J. (2006). Status and Trends of Ecological Health and Human Use of the Cabrillo National Monument Rocky Intertidal Zone (1990-2005). National Park Service, 1–205. Retrieved from

Engle, J. M. (2005). Rocky Intertidal Resource Dynamics in San Diego County: Cardiff, La Jolla, and Point Loma, 1–91.

Engle, J. M., & Davis, G. E. (2000). Ecological Condition and Public use of the Cabrillo National Monument Intertidal Zone 1990-1995 (No. 00-98) (pp. 1–180). U.S. Geological Survey.

Erickson, A., Klinger, T., & Fradkin, S. C. (2004). A Pilot Study of the Effects of Human Trampling on Rocky Intertidal Areas in Olympic National Park, USA.

Espinosa, F., Rivera-Ingraham, G. A., Fa, D., & García-Gómez, J. C. (2009). Effect of Human Pressure on Population Size Structures of the Endangered Ferruginean Limpet: Toward Future Management Measures. Journal of Coastal Research, 254, 857–863. doi:10.2112/08-1005.1

Ferreira, M. N., & Rosso, S. (2009). Effects of human trampling on a rocky shore fauna on the Sao Paulo coast, southeastern Brazil. Brazilian Journal of Biology = Revista Brasleira De Biologia, 69(4), 993–999.

Garcia, A., & Smith, J. R. (2013). Factors influencing human visitation of southern California rocky intertidal ecosystems. Ocean & Coastal Management, 73(C), 44–53. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2012.12.006

Huff, T. M. (2011). Effects of human trampling on macro- and meiofauna communities associated with intertidal algal turfs and implications for management of protected areas on rocky shores (Southern California). Marine Ecology, 32(3), 335–345. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0485.2011.00467.x

Murray, S. N., Denis, T. G., Kido, J. S., & Smith, J. R. (1999). Human visitation and the frequency and potential effects of collecting on rocky intertidal populations in southern California marine reserves. Reports of California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations, 40, 100–106.

Smith, J. R., Fong, P., & Ambrose, R. F. (2006). Dramatic declines in mussel bed community diversity: response to climate change? Ecology, 87(5), 1153–1161.

Van De Werfhorst, L. C., & Pearse, J. S. (2007). Trampling in the rocky intertidal of central California: a follow-up study. Bulletin of Marine Science, 81(2), 245–254.

Project Backers

darlenetydlaskakatbatzRyan LowerHildawsergeysarnavskiynenenewmanOscar JasklowskiAlex StoverpappudooCindy Wudgaul12Denny LuanTydlaskathe1spoonLaimaboydlilletterscrambler27shawntydMonica TydlaskaleetydlaskapreetalinaAmsanmanVynterstephanieeromancorinnehelenaechapman246Vesco