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Beachcombing: Loss of isopods raises questions about beach health (photos)




David Hubbard, a research specialist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, looks for crustaceans called Isopods on a Malibu beach on July 24. Hubbard and a group of scientists have found that the Isopod population has disappeared from 60 percent of Southern California beaches.
David Hubbard, a research specialist at UCSB's Marine Science Institute, looks for crustaceans called Isopods on a Malibu beach on July 24. Hubbard and a group of scientists have found that the Isopod population has disappeared from 60 percent of Southern California beaches.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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You remember pill bug, those little roly-polys that curled up in the palm of your hand as a kid.

Their scientific name is isopods and they have cousins that burrow into the sand along the coast, but those isopods have disappeared from a number of southern California's beaches.

In the latest installment of our Beachcombing series, KPCC's Molly Peterson explores why we're losing isopods, and what it might mean for the health of our coast.