Intertidal Etiquette: Beach Exploration Guidelines
Respect the sea life.
Replace Rocks with the same face down after looking underneath them. This is because animals living under a rock, unaccustomed to being exposed, will die.
Do not move animals between tide zones. They may not be able to survive in even a slightly different tide zone. For example, a tide pool in the high tide zone will have a different temperature and salinity than one in a lower tide zone and a low tide zone animal cannot survive there. A sunflower star, moon snail, or sea urchin would literally cook in a spray zone tide pool!
Do not take living plants or animals home from the beach. Even a shell that appears to be empty may have a hermit crab inside. Hermit crabs live in abandoned shells for protection and as they grow they leave their old shells for larger ones. This leaves the old shell open for a smaller crab to recycle it. So remember that it is alright to take a few empty shells but remember that they are very important to the marine environment. Remember that juvenile limpets, chitons, barnacles, oysters and mussels also will often grow on empty shells. Instead of taking the animal, plant or shell with you, take a photo, draw a picture or make a rubbing to help preserve the balance of the intertidal zone.