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Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Survey Report, April 7, 2014

2014 Intertidal Ecology Survey
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Moss Beach CA
Field Survey Report
James Landers, April 7, 2014

Abstract. The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve (FMR) is protected seashore of 32 acres owned by the State of California, managed by San Mateo County as a county park, and supported by an active volunteer group. The reserve is located at Moss Beach CA, twenty miles south of San Francisco, on exposed open coast that extends for three miles from the Montara light to Pillar Point. The reserve’s intertidal zone consists of a formation of flat rock shelves protected by a barrier of several offshore reefs. Close to large metropolitan areas, the reserve is visited by over 100,000 people yearly [Tenera, 2004], placing great pressure on animal and plant life and complicating an understanding of diversity at that location. Although they have been noted as plentiful in the past at this location, this survey found few to no examples of sea stars, shore crabs, and sea urchins; mussels, Mytilus californianus, were abundant in several beds, but barnacles (Balanus) occurred only occasionally. Marine algae, however, are abundant in the FMR intertidal, covering large areas of the rock surface, in particular Endocladia muricata, Brillo Pad algae, and Neorhodomela larix, black pine rockweed, raising questions of how settlement can be accomplished by animals when so much space is taken by plants. Continue reading Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Survey Report, April 7, 2014