Collaborative Monitoring | MARINe

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Collaborative Monitoring and Citizen Science

 

Beginning in June 2013, sea stars along the west coast of North America began dying in vast numbers from what has been termed Sea Star Wasting Syndrome (SSWS). First noticed by Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) researchers in Washington state, affected sea stars were observed along much of the coast within months. While similar outbreaks have occurred in the past, previous events were largely restricted to southern California and nearly always coincided with warm water El Niño periods; symptomatic stars would disappear with cooling water temperatures. The current SSWS event has persisted for over four years, spans from Alaska to Southern California, and has affected 22 sea star species to varying degrees. While this event has included heightened outbreaks of SSWS during periods of warmer water temperatures, the syndrome has also been remarkably persistent at a low level on a broad geographic scale during periods of cooler seawater temperatures.

The large geographic and temporal scale of this outbreak highlight the need for consistent monitoring, beyond what can be accomplished through the MARINe program alone. Collaboration with other researchers, and the development of a citizen science program designed to capture trends in sea star populations has made it possible to document the extent of this event, which now spans 4+ years and over 2000 miles.  While we continue to see decline due to SSWS in many areas, we have also begun to see signs of recovery in the form of newly recruited stars in some regions. Continued monitoring at a scale only possible through an expansive collaborative effort between researchers and citizen scientists will allow us to assess the long-term, broad-scale impact of SSWS on sea star populations, and make predictions about recovery.

Sea star populations are monitored at the sites below following protocols developed by MARINe. These data, along with MARINe long-term monitoring and biodiversity data are available using the Interactive Graphing Tool. Only sites that have been consistently sampled long-term are included. For subtidal data, sea star sizes are recorded in binned increments; to be included on the website, the size at the midpoint of each bin was used. For more information about how data were collected, please view the protocols. Sites are either intertidal (IT) using protocols found here, or subtidal (ST) using protocols found here.

Sites by region
Alaska
British Columbia
Washington
Oregon
California


Sites by group/researcher
Bainbridge Beach Naturalists
Cama Beach Foundation
Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies
Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee
CoastWatch
Edmonds Underwater Park Stewards
Feiro Marine Life Center
Harbor WildWatch
Haystack Rock Awareness Program
Kayak Horizons
Kit Harma
Kitsap Beach Naturalists
LiMPETS
Mark Nayer
Michael and Judith
Michael Kyte
Mount Baker Sierra Club
Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society
The Nature Conservancy and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Vashon Beach Naturalists
Other Sites

Citizen Science Sites Currently Monitored, by region

Alaska
Otter Rock; Peterson Bay (IT)
Otter Rock; Peterson Bay ST (ST)
Peterson Bay Lagoon (IT)
China Poot (IT)
China Poot ST (ST)
Point Louisa (IT)

British Columbia
Effingham Bay (ST)
Turret (ST)
Island Harbour (ST)
Nettle (ST)
Dodd (ST)
Hand Island (ST)
Ucluelet Harbour (IT)
Kwisitis Point (IT)
Tonquin Beach (IT)
Strawberry Island (IT)

Washington
Camano Is State Park (IT)
Cama Beach State Park (ST)
Point White (IT)
Rockaway Beach (IT)
Vashon North Ferry Pier (IT)
Dockton Marina (IT)
DeMolay (IT)
Point Whitehorn Big Rock (IT)
Point Whitehorn County Park (IT)
Neptune Beach (IT)
Larrabee (IT)
Clayton Beach IT)
Evergreen Shore (IT)
Edmonds Ferry (IT)
Edmonds Underwater Park (Cathedrals) (ST)
Edmonds Underwater Park (Jetty) (ST)
Narrows Beach (IT)
Jerisich Dock (ST)
Kopachuck (IT)
Penrose (IT)
Maple Hollow (IT)
Purdy Spit (IT)
Allyn Town Dock (ST)
Hood Canal Lofall Dock (IT)
Jorstad Creek (ST)
Pulali Point (IT)
Indian Island County Park (IT)
Indian Island Bridge (ST)
PTMSC Pier (ST)
John Wayne Marina (IT)
Freshwater Bay (IT)
Tongue Point (IT)
 
Oregon
Haystack Rock N Boulders (IT)
Haystack Rock E Needles (IT)
Roads End (Cascade Head) (IT)
Otter Rock (IT)
Cove Creek Beach (IT)

California
Target Rock (ST)
South T Pier (IT)

Citizen Science Sites Currently Monitored, by group/researcher

Bainbridge Beach Naturalists

Bainbridge Beach Naturalists surveys the following monitoring sites on Bainbridge Island, in Kitsap County, Washington: Point White, Rockaway Beach. For more information contact Julie Leung and Jane Hannuksela. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Cama Beach Foundation

Cama Beach Foundation surveys the following monitoring site on Camano Island, in Island County, Washington: Camano Island State Park. For more information contact Michael Kyte and John Custer. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies surveys the following monitoring sites in Kenai Peninsula County, Alaska: Otter Rock; Peterson Bay, Otter Rock; Peterson Bay ST, Peterson Bay Lagoon, China Poot, China Poot ST. For more information contact Katie Gavenus and Seth Spencer. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee

Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee surveys the following monitoring sites in Whatcom County, Washington: Point Whitehorn Big Rock, Point Whitehorn County Park, and Neptune Beach. For more information contact Eleanor Hines. To view data see graph link(s) below:

CoastWatch

CoastWatch surveys the following monitoring site in Lincoln County, Oregon: Yachats Beach. For more information contact Tara DuBois. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Edmonds Underwater Park Stewards

Edmonds Underwater Park Stewards surveys the following monitoring sites in Snohomish County, Washington: Edmonds Underwater Park (Cathedrals), Edmonds Underwater Park (Jetty). For more information contact Kirby Johnson. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Feiro Marine Life Center

Feiro Marine Life Center surveys the following monitoring site in Clallam County, Washington: Freshwater Bay. For more information contact Helle Andersen. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Harbor WildWatch

Harbor WildWatch surveys the following monitoring sites in Pierce County, Washington: DeMolay, Narrows Beach, Kopachuck, Maple Hollow, Penrose, Maple Hollow, Purdy Spit. For more information contact Stena Troyer. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Haystack Rock Awareness Program

Haystack Rock Awareness Program surveys the following monitoring sites in Clatsop County, Oregon: Haystack Rock N Boulders, Haystack Rock E Needles.

haystack rock

For more information contact Melissa Keyser. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Kayak Horizons

Kayak Horizons surveys the following monitoring site in San Luis Obispo, California: South T Pier.

 kayak horizons

For more information contact Dennis Krueger. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Kit Harma

Kit Harma surveys the following monitoring site on Guemes Island, in Skagit County, Washington: Evergreen Shore. For more information contact Kit Harma. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Kitsap Beach Naturalists

Kitsap Beach Naturalists surveys the following monitoring site in Kitsap County, Washington: Hood Canal Lofall Dock. For more information contact Linda Martin and Jeff Adams. To view data see graph link(s) below:

LiMPETS

LiMPETS surveys rocky intertidal monitoring sites along the central and southern coast of California. Visit their website for more information about their sites and data.

Mark Nayer

Mark Nayer surveys the the following monitoring sites in Mason County and Kitsap County, Washington: Allyn Town Dock, Jorstad Creek. For more information contact Mark Nayer. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Michael and Judith

Michael and Judith survey the the following monitoring site in Jefferson County, Washington: Pulali Point. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Michael Kyte

Michael Kyte surveys the the following monitoring sites in Island County and Snohomish County, Washington: Cama Beach State Park and Edmonds Ferry. For more information contact Michael Kyte. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Mount Baker Sierra Club

Mount Baker Sierra Club surveys the following monitoring site in Skagit County, Washington: Clayton Beach. For more information contact Eleanor Hines. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Pacific Lutheran University

Pacific Lutheran University surveys the following monitoring sites in Pierce County and Clallam County, Washington: Jerisich Dock, Tongue Point. For more information contact Michael Behrens. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve surveys the following monitoring sites on Effingham, Turret, Broken Group, Nettle, Dodd, and Hand Islands in British Columbia: Effingham Bay, Turret, Island Harbour, Nettle, Dodd, and Hand Island. For more information contact Jennifer Yakimishyn. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Port Townsend Marine Science Center surveys the following monitoring sites in Jefferson County, Washington: Indian Island County Park, Indian Island Bridge, PTMSC Pier.

indian iisland

For more information contact Betsy Carlson. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society

Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society surveys the following monitoring sites on Vancouver Island, British Columbia: Ucluelet Harbour, Kwisitis Point, Tonquin Beach, and Strawberry Island. For more information contact Michelle Segal. To view data see graph link(s) below:

The Nature Conservancy and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Nature Conservancy and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife survey the following monitoring sites in Lincoln County and Lane County, Oregon: Roads End (Cascade Head), Otter Rock, and Cove Creek Beach. For more information contact Dick VanderSchaaf and Lindsay Aylesworth. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Vashon Beach Naturalists

Vashon Beach Naturalists surveys the following monitoring site on Vashon Island, in King County, Washington: Vashon North Ferry Pier. For more information contact Jeff Adams. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Other Sites

For more information on these sites contact Melissa Miner.

  • Point Louisa, Juneau County, Alaska
  • North Nugent, Lummi Island, Whatcom County, Washington
  • Dockton Marina, Vashon Island, King County, Washington
  • Larrabee, Whatcom County, Washington
  • John Wayne Marina, Clallam County, Washington
  • Target Rock, San Luis Obispo County, California



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