Anthropogenic climate change along with the more frequent extreme weather it prompts, are having direct and indirect effects on distributions and abundance of species with consequence for community structure—especially if habitat providers are lost. Rocky shores have long been recognized as tractable experimental arenas for ecology contributing to theory. They have also emerged as important sentinel systems for tracking climate change responses of marine biodiversity and ecosystems, capitalizing on both historic broadscale surveys and time series. Combining these twin traditions is a powerful approach for better understanding and forecasting climate change impacts. Sustained observing allows extreme events to be detected and explored by in-parallel experimentation.