Pliny 2.0

Natural History Encyclopedia 2.0

A Local Legend

A beautiful cypress tree found along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. Photo by Sarah Khosla.

Despite rough climatic conditions and deadly fungal diseases, the Monterey Cypress stands tall.

Leatherback Turtles

The leatherback remains virtually unchanged since its first appearance on Earth 70 million years ago. Public domain photo.

Meet the world's largest marine reptile.

Mystery Redwoods

The "dwarf redwoods" at Quail Hollow Ranch are 20-25 feet tall.

Are these Quail Hollow Ranch trees dwarf redwoods, or are they just stunted?

California Red-Legged Frog

If it didn't taste so much like chicken, there might be a lot more red-legged frogs; 19th-century Californians nearly ate them into extinction. Photo by Pierre Fidenci on Creative Commons.

The new state amphibian suffers from desirable flavor and sexual confusion.

Purple Sea Urchin

Purple sea urchins are found in the tidepools and kelp forests of the Pacific Coast. Photo by David Monniaux on Wikimedia Commons.

Cousin of sea stars, favorite meal of otters.


Horsetail in its most familiar form: looking like a bottle brush. Photo by Garrett McAuliffe.

A relic of the Paleozoic era, this primitive plant was once thought to signal the presence of gold.

Western Pond Turtle

Western pond turtle photographed by Yathin S. Krishnappa

A short video about California's only native freshwater turtle.


Anchovies in a bait ball. Photo by Cliff on Wikimedia.

By Hanae Armitage

They travel in massive hordes, are a keystone ocean species, and even show a little glitz. Yet anchovies are primarily known for being a commonly picked-off pizza topping.

Steelhead Trout

Juvenile rainbow trout. Photo by Eric Engbretson/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The saline-suited, freshwater-friendly trout of North America's Pacific Coast.


Orca porpoising (porpoise meaning to leap out of the water). Photo by Minette Layne/Creative Commons

Fearless ocean predator or majestic spirit guide?