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Leo Carillo Tide Pools (Nadia Chocron)

Reviewed by: Nadia Chocron, Science teacher at Lindero Cnayon Middle School.   

Location: Malibu, Ca 90265
Latitude: 34.04490 
Longitude: -118.93500

Leo Carillo State Beach

    Leo Carillo is a state beach located in Malibu, CA.  It is known for having tide pools.  A class or individual students could travel to the beach during low tide to experience the tide pools.  The beach is rocky, so shoes are recommended.  The rocks allow for small organisms to remain on shore and visible during low tide.  It is a public beach with paid parking or free parking on PCH.  

    A middle school science student would benefit from visiting the tide pools because they are able to witness the tides as well as the various organisms that live in shallow water.  They would be able to understand how tides work or observe organisms in their natural habitats.  
    A biology student would benefit from the tide pools because they could observe an organism in its' natural habitat.  They would be able to understand the ecosystem that the organism lives in as well as potential dangers that exist in the ecosystem.  
Science Concepts Addressed: Give examples of specific science concepts that may be addressed by visitng the field trip site and explain how they are addressed.  For example, the following science concepts can be addressed by a field trip to the Mount Wilson Observatory.
  • Ecology:  The organisms in the pools demonstrate food chains, niches, carrying capacity, and limiting factors.  
  • Gravity:  The tides show the effect the moon has on the oceans by having different tides every 12 hours.  
Study Guide:  
This study guide is intended for a student led trip.  I would assign extra credit for students who are able to go to the tide pools with their parents to fill in this study guide.  

Leo Carillo Tide Pools

Study Guide


Task 1: Zonation



1. Try to find the point from which the zonation is easily seen.

2. What do you notice about the organisms living on the rocks.

3.  Take a picture demonstrating tidal zonation. 

4. Hypothesize why the organisms grow/live in bands.


Analysis Questions:

1. What do you notice about the way that the different kinds of organisms are


2. If you have plants at your house, or a garden, do some plants do better in shade

than in sun, and vice verse?

3. Are jungle plants and animals the same as desert plants and animals?

4. What determines which organisms will be able to live in a place?

5. What would happen to an organism that was moved from its normal home (zone)

to another?

Task 2: Algae Holdfasts



1. Find several clumps of algae, preferably but not necessarily, with holdfasts.

2. Place the algae into pans, and look carefully for creatures hiding there.

3. Sketch or describe (in writing or verbally) what they find.

4. Take care of the organisms.  Keep them damp, return to where they were found.



1. Discuss the value of camouflage.  What would happen to an organism that isn’t well hidden?

2. Discuss the use of the algae as food, shelter from drying out, shelter from predators.

3. What happens to the dead algae? 


Task 3: Numbers of Organisms



1. Select a typical tide pool in which you can see several of the organisms.

2. Record the relative numbers on the data tables.

3.  Create a food web based on the organisms that you found and your knowledge of tidal ecosystems.  


Type of Organism

Location of Organism (Zone)

Relative Number Observed





Turban Snail

































Relative amounts:

4 = very many/quite a lot    3 = many/lots                2 = few/little mass

1 = very few/very little mass          0 = none



1.  What did you notice about the relative amounts of carnivores to herbivores?

2. How are the relative amounts significant in regards to how many people the Earth

can support?

3. What do expect the relative numbers of microscopic parts of this ecosystem (phytoplankton and zooplankton) to be?



For additional information:  

Nadia Chocron,
Oct 26, 2011, 9:15 PM