Sea Searchers Handbook

The Sea Searchers Handbook, published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 1996, provides a treasure of activities, from art to science and from math to language arts. Explore rocky shores, wetlands, sandy shores, kelp forests, the open sea and the deep sea and enjoy over 90 hands-on activities.

Download the Sea Searchers Handbook (PDF)

Individual Pages & Chapters

Cover & Credits

(3 pgs. 174k)

Table of Contents

(4 pgs., 13k)

Searching Sea Habitats

A Habitat is a Home

(10 pgs., 741 k)
From deep submarine canyons to wave-swept rocky shores, the ocean is a combination of many diverse and unique habitats. What makes a habitat a home?

Rocky Shore

(15 pgs., 1.9 mb)
Fierce competition for space, crashing waves, shifting tides—the rocky shore is a hard place to call home. How do rocky shore plants and animals survive?

Sandy Shore

(16 pgs., 1 mb)
The shifting sands and fierce waves seem to make an unfriendly habitat. But the sandy shore is home to a number of well-adapted organisms.


(17 pgs., 1.4 mb)
Once considered wastelands, wetlands are now appreciated as essential wildlife habitats. Wetlands support a diversity of life and serve as nurseries for many marine animals.

Kelp Forest

(14 pgs., 1.5 mb)
Giant kelp plants form submarine forests in cool waters along some coasts. The forests provide food and shelter to a rich array of plants and animals.

Open Sea

(13 pgs., 1.2 mb)
Imagine a world with no boundaries. That's what it's like to live in the open sea. Animals of the open sea are adapted to a life of swimming or drifting with the currents.

Deep Sea Canyon

(19 pgs., 1.7 mb)
Deep, cold and dark, the deep sea was once thought to be empty of life. New research tools have unveiled a world full of living things with amazing adaptations for survival.

Searching for Sea Life

Suited for the Sea

(11 pgs., 1.5 mb)
Different habitats require different strategies for survival. A variety of body parts, shapes and behaviors help living things find food, reproduce and avoid predators.

Marine Mammals

(24 pgs., 1.6 mb)
Warm-blooded, air breathing marine mammals have special adaptations that help them survive in their ocean homes.


(12 pgs., 837 k)
What makes a fish a fish? Adapted for specific habitats, fish have different body parts and behaviors to help them survive.

Sharks, Skates and Rays

(14 pgs., 1.8 mb)
Humans have long been fascinated by sharks, one of the oldest types of fish. Well-adapted to life in the ocean, many shark populations are under pressure by overfishing and habitat destruction.

Searching for Interactions

Food Webs in the Sea

(10 pgs., 713 k)
What and how an animal eats depends on where it lives. Even though we don't live in the ocean, people have an impact on the ocean food web.

People and the Sea

(17 pgs., 1.6 mb)
The sea's rich treasures need our protection. Even little things we do at home can have an impact.

Glossary & Critter Cards


(9 pgs., 102 k)

Animal Fact Cards

(38 pgs., 984 k)
Downloadable package of all our animal fact cards.