Keystone Datasets are collections of long-term Point Blue data archives (in some cases spanning over 50 years!). They give a rich and meticulous picture of the past and present from which we can better plan for an uncertain future. The process by which these data treasure troves are collected — one observation at a time through rigorous field science and inspirational internships — represents our commitment to being diligent and collaborative scientists and teachers.

Point Blue’s Keystone Datasets include: Palomarin Field Station, Farallon Islands, San Francisco Bay Tidal Marsh, and ACCESS Oceans.

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Diana Humple


Avian Ecologist & Banding Coordinator

Palomarin Field Station (est. 1966)

One of the world’s premier facilities for training field biologists, our Palomarin Field Station has welcomed more than 700 interns from 23 countries since 1966. Palomarin data—including information on songbirds, habitat, and the impact of environmental change—have been the basis for 100+ peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Today this collection of bird ecology information represents the longest running mist-netting dataset West of the Mississippi and third in continent.


The Palomarin dataset has significant impact. We've created, standardized and validated methods which are exported to other researchers throughout the nation and world. We also discover and share natural history information and impacts of climates change on ecosystems.

Migratory Bird Arrivals, Indicators of Climate Change in California

Migratory geography of Golden-crowned Sparrows from two wintering regions. Published in Animal Migration

Avian body size changes and climate change: warming or increasing variability?

A Guide to Nestling Development and Aging in Altricial Passerines

Mist-netting with the public: A guide for communicating science through bird banding

Data Visualizations

From detecting signals of climate change to uncovering migratory pathways to illuminating local change, our data tell countless stories that contribute to conserving our planet. We welcome you to explore and engage with our data through the links below.

Tracking a changing climate (link coming soon)

Habitat & bird community change (link coming soon)

Crossroads & Connections (link coming soon)

Get Involved

Unlike our other field sites, Palomarin is open to the public. We host larger groups for science field trips and welcome groups of five or fewer to drop in. We also accept application for internships year-round.

Visit us

Intern with us

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Pete Warzybok


Senior Marine Ecologist

Farallon Islands (est. 1968)

In partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, our biologists have continuously lived and worked on the Farallon Islands since 1968, collecting data on seabirds, seals, white sharks, and other animals. These datasets—used in more than 160 scientific papers—support conservation of globally significant wildlife populations, with a focus on climate change impacts. Upwards of 1,000 interns from more than 15 countries have trained with our scientists in this special place!


Our 50+ year Farallon dataset has uncovered uncovered clues of ecological interactions, detected signs of climate change, and continues to inform our knowledge of marine ecosystems and how we can conserve them. Explore and share some of our key peer-reviewed publications below.

Glow in the Dark Seabird Bills

Ashy Storm-Petrels, House Mice, and Owls

More chicks, longer life?

Data-informed Fishery Management

Orcas vs White Sharks


We train interns on the Farallones year-round. There are three different seasons you can apply for: breeding seabirds in the spring and summer, migrating landbirds and sharks in the fall, and seal and sea lion ecology in the winter.

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Data-driven Island Restoration

Point Blue is the science partner in the US Fish and Wildlife Service led Farallon Island restoration. This critically needed restoration involves removing non-native house mice to support the recovery of a threatened seabird, the Ashy Storm-Petrel, as well as other endemic island species.

Farallon Restoration Web Portal

Read Our Blog Posts

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Julian Wood


SF Bay Program Leader

San Francisco Bay Tidal Marsh (est. 1996)

Our scientists have collected data on tidal marsh birds throughout the San Francisco Estuary since 1996. These datasets guide habitat restorations to support thriving bayland ecosystems. They also help us understand how the Estuary will respond to changes such as sea- level rise, informing conservation plans that benefit birds and Bay Area communities in a changing world.


Point Blue's SF Bay tidal marsh dataset has had an influential role in planning documents that inform funding and approach to marsh habitat management around the nine county Bay Area.

Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals, Science Update 2015

San Pablo Baylands: Ensuring a Resilient Shoreline along Hwy 37

USFWS Recovery Plan for Tidal Marsh Ecosystems of Northern and Central California

Sea Level Rise Planning Tools

Our future Marshes tool, built using this keystone dataset, predicts the effects of sea level rise on Bay Area tidal marsh habitat and wildlife. It added significant climate change considerations to the 2015 Bay Goals Update.

Future Marshes

Supporting Marsh Restoration

This keystone dataset has shown marsh restoration success by documenting birds returning to restored habitat. These results were part of what helped lead to the passage of measure AA in 2016 by residents of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. It is now providing $500 million over twenty years, to fund shoreline projects that will protect and restore the Bay, including some of our own STRAW projects.

Transition Zone Planning

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Meredith Elliott


Senior Scientist, ACCESS Program Biologist

ACCESS Oceans (est. 2004)

The Applied California Current Ecosystems Studies (ACCESS) keystone dataset is stewarded by Point Blue in partnership with the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries along with nine other integral partners. We have collected data on sea life and ocean variables since 2004. Our datasets inform resource managers and other partners about wildlife responses to changes in ocean conditions and human threats in order to mobilize public support for marine conservation.

Monitoring Everything

The ACCESS dataset is as rich as the ocean itself. We use hydroacoustic instruments and net tows to measure krill abundance and diversity. We collect information about the water like temperature, salinity, amount of chlorophyll, and turbidity. We collect information about nutrients that the plant base of the marine food web (phytoplankton) needs to grow, like nitrites, phosphates, and silicates. And of course we track abundance and diversity of marine mammals like whales and seals and seabirds, like albatross, fulmars, and murres. We added dissolved oxygen which we use to calculate ocean acidification, an effect of climate change that deteriorates the shells of crabs, mussels, and other marine shellfish.


Point Blue and partner scientists along with interns and graduate students work to publish peer-reviewed papers on the comprehensive ocean science we do through ACCESS. Explore the links below to learn about some of this work.

Hydroacoustics: A new method of assessing the amount of fish in the sea

Whale deaths from ship collisions outstrip federal limits

Using Seabirds Feeding to Inform National Marine Sanctuary Management

Black-footed Albatross habitat use in central California Sanctuaries

Whale Conservation

From this dataset we can see where and when whales are congregating. We’ve used these data to inform how the shipping and crab fishery industries operate so they can avoid killing and harming these magnificent and endangered ocean animals

Whale Alert West Coast

Get Involved

Get Involved

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