UC Santa Cruz PhD student Monica Moritsch stands knee deep in the chilly water at Terrace Point in northern Santa Cruz. This is a spot where marine biologists have been counting sea stars closely for more than 15 years.
“Just look high and low. Look in the cracks,” she directs her two interns in the search. “The small ones tend to hide in the crevices.”
In the tide pools carpeted with iridescent black-and-blue mussels, they quickly find what they’re looking for. “Oh, there’s two right here,” she says.
“Oh, there’s three!” says intern Samantha Chavez.