About the Park
Moss Beach, Ca – Marine Reserve
Science Spotlight: Giant Green Anemones
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is host to hundreds of species of animals and algae – making the reserve’s tidepools some of the most species-diverse and accessible tidepools in the state.
In the midst of this amazing diversity, one tidepool creature is especially eye-grabbing: the giant green anemone. When fully outstretched, they look like beautiful sea flowers basking in the sunlight. Even when closed they are fun to look at, as they resemble olive-colored, slimy donuts.
The giant green anemone’s captivating exterior actually represents the symbiotic relationship between two organisms: the anemone itself and algae. The algae gain the benefits of a shelter from predators, whereas the anemone gains some extra food and oxygen produced by the algae. Sounds like a good deal to me.
From as early as 1911, scientists and naturalists have been visiting these tidepools to witness the amazing diversity of invertebrates/vertebrates. As collections from visits began to deplete the natural resource, the county of San Mateo proposed that the area be acquired by the state for protection. The reserve is now protected under the Marine Resources Protection Act of 1990.
Visit the Park
Please note that there is no entrance fee to enter the park. Dogs are not allowed within the park.
Before hiking, be sure to check the tidal chart for the area. The tide pools are best when viewed at a tide of 1′ or less. Plan your trip around these times. During your visit, please be sure to respect the area and its future patrons. Do not harm any wildlife or remove any artifacts during your visit.
Here are some helpful resources to plan your visit:
- Regulations at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
- Getting To Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
- San Mateo County Parks Self-Guided Tour
- Friends of the Fitzgerald Reserve Self-Guided Tour
- Tidal Chart for the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Area
- Tide Pool Animal Guides
- Tide Zone Guide
- Resource on Other California Tide Pools