Lately I have been taking very long walks some 6 hr or more along the Coal Oil Point Reserve, in Goleta, just north of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista (IV) and the UCSB campus. You can break off pieces of rock from the cliff face where you can see and smell the trapped crude oil.
Oil and tar is all over the sand and occurs naturally here. It a real problem when walking barefoot. In some spots oil is actually dripping off the rock faces and accumulates in patches of hardend sun baked tar. On hot days the whole area wreaks of hydrocarbons that have seeped up and are now evaporating off their lighter components, leaving behind tarry blobs.
Somehow even with all this, the area full a wide array of wildlife that has adapted. Small sharks, seals, sea lions, and more variety of wild birds then I can name. Every evening the humans gather along the sea cliffs and watch the sun set, and during the day surfers slosh back and forth in the fridged surf wearing black wet suits.
Sea Anemone on rocks at low tide 9/19/09
Beach Hoppers, live mostly on washed up sea weed, and the staple food of the endangered snowy plovers.
I went walking on the beach late one night armed with nothing but a VU Led flashlight hoping to finding some interesting florescent rocks. Talk about creeped out, I was 20 minutes down the beach from the stairs. On one side the sea cliff and the other the ocean, walking along in the dark the moon rose. The whole beach started squirming then I began feeling things banging and crawling up my legs and falling in to my shoes and getting squished.
It was a long walk to the stairs before I could make it off the beach. Nothing is worse then the unknown, I had no idea what they were if the bite or what. With the UV light they looked white and were wet and slimy and felt like slugs. Once home with proper light they are like land shrimp, some as long as an inch in length and could jump at good 20 inches in to the air.
See the video below.