Illustrations of California marsh plants and animals from my Hollings internship research

This summer, I conducted research on the European green crab’s (Carcinus maenas) diet. My experiment was part of a larger research project run by Julie Gonzalez, a Margaret A. Davidson fellow, on ecosystem and soil and water properties in the salt marshes of China Camp State Park. While sitting in the mud of China Camp and while doing a scientific literature review on California salt marshes, I learned about many interesting organisms that captured my imagination, and decided to capture their likeness on paper. I used watercolor, colored pencil, and ink to create the drawings, then uploaded and manipulated them in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Twenty nine small illustrations of a wide variety of plant and animal life that have been cut out and arranged overtop a background photo of the marsh. The illustrations are detailed in ink and colored in a realistic style

Drawings of plants and animals found at China Camp State Park. Ana Olsen, a 2021 Hollings scholar, used watercolor, colored pencil, and ink to draw the marsh wildlife she saw while doing fieldwork or read about during a literature review on California salt marshes. (Image credit: Ana Olsen/Hollings scholar)

Illustration legend

e = endangered, in China Camp locally extinct or rarely seen.

i = invasive

1. California cordgrass, Spartina foliosa

2. Zooplankton

3. Snowy egret, Egretta thula

4. American white pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos

5. California brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis californicus

6. Overbite clam, Potamocorbula amurensisi

7. Great egret, Ardea alba

8. Great blue heron, Ardea Herodias

9. Grandidierella japonicai

10. California condor, Gymnogyps californianuse

11. Anna’s hummingbird, Calypte anna

12. Atlantic oyster drill, Urosalpinx cinereai

13. Cryptomya californica

14. Acanthinucella spirata

15. European green crab, Carcinus maenas

16. Orthione griffenisi

17. Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

18. Coyote, Canis latrans

19. Asian mud shrimp, Upogebia majori

20. Ridgeway’s rail, Rallus obsoletuse

21. Green shore crab, Hemigrapsus oregonensis

22. Salt marsh harvest mouse, Reithrodontomys raviventrise

23. Pacific mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensise

24. California poppy, Eschscholzia californica

25. Jaumea carnosa

26. Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensise

27. Pickleweed, Sarcocornia pacifica

28. California sea lavender, Limonium californicum

29. California quail, Callipepla californica

A fiery orange sunrise lights up the sky in pale shades of pink and purple over the marsh of China Camp State Park. A sparse row of high, dry grass in the foreground gives way to dense, green vegetation that leads out to calm ocean waters in the distance that reflect the sunrise..
Ana Olsen captured this photo of China Camp State Park, San Rafael, California, at sunrise during her summer internship fieldwork. (Ana Olsen/Hollings scholar)
Headshot of Ana
Ana Olsen, 2021 Hollings scholar

Ana Olsen is a 2021 Hollings scholar and marine biology major at the University of Washington. Her internship was in the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at San Francisco State University Estuarine and Ocean Science Center with Dr. Chris Kinkade (NOAA mentor) and Dr. Matt Ferner (onsite mentor).