Shell Beach | MARINe

Shell Beach

Click here for Long-Term trends

Click here for Biodiversity Survey findings

Shell Beach is located in the Central Coast region of California. This site is near the San Luis Obispo Bay/Point San Luis Mussel Watch site. The site is located within a developed stretch of coastline, with stairs leading to the beach downcoast of the site, and human use is fairly high. This gently sloping site consists of moderately uneven terrain, containing few cracks and folds.

Shell Beach biodiversity survey overview

Shell Beach is dominated by consolidated bedrock, and the area surrounding the site is comprised of a mixture of consolidated bedrock, boulder fields, and sandy beach. The primary coastal orientation of this site is southwest.

Long-Term Monitoring Surveys at Shell Beach were established in 1995, and are done by University of California Santa Cruz. Long-Term MARINe surveys currently target the following species: Chthamalus/Balanus (Acorn Barnacles), Mytilus (California Mussel), Silvetia (Golden Rockweed), Endocladia (Turfweed), Mastocarpus (Turkish Washcloth), Phyllospadix (Surfgrass), and Pisaster (Ochre Star). In addition, motile invertebrates, barnacle recruitment, mussel size structure, and water temperature are monitored at this site. Click here to view Long-Term trends at this site.

Shell Beach long-term monitoring overview

Biodiversity Surveys were done in 2001, 2006, and 2019. The Biodiversity Survey grid encompasses two sections that are approximately 9 meters (along shore) x 33 meters (seaward), and 18 meters (along shore) x 33 meters (seaward). Click here to view Biodiversity Survey findings at this site.

This site is also regularly surveyed by LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) which is an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators, and volunteer groups. You can access site specific data from this citizen scientist and educational broad scale trend monitoring program here.

For more information about Shell Beach, please contact Pete Raimondi (