Collaborative Monitoring | MARINe

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Citizen Science and Collaborative Monitoring

 

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 three 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 3+ 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.

The groups and individuals listed below monitor sea star populations following protocols developed by MARINe. These data, along with MARINe long-term monitoring and biodiversity data are available using the Interactive Map & 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.

Citizen Science Groups and Collaborative Researchers

Bainbridge Beach Naturalists

Bainbridge Beach Naturalists surveys the following monitoring site(s): 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(s): Camano Island. 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 site(s): China Poot, China Poot ST, Otter Rock; Peterson Bay, Otter Rock; Peterson Bay ST, Peterson Bay Lagoon. 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 site(s): Point Whitehorn Big Rock, Point Whitehorn County Park. For more information contact Eleanor Hines. To view data see graph link(s) below:

CoastWatch

CoastWatch surveys the following monitoring site(s): Yachats. For more information contact Karen Heere. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Coastal Volunteer Partnership

Coastal Volunteer Partnership surveys the following monitoring site(s): Clayton Beach. For more information contact Tim Manns. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Edmonds Underwater Park Stewards

Edmonds Underwater Park Stewards surveys the following monitoring site(s): Edmonds Underwater Park, 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(s): Freshwater Bay. For more information contact Helle Andersen. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Harbor WildWatch

Harbor WildWatch surveys the following monitoring site(s): DeMolay, Kopachuck, Maple Hollow, Narrows Beach, Penrose, 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 site(s): Haystack Rock E Needles, Haystack Rock N Boulders, Haystack Rock S Wall. For more information contact Melissa Keyser. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Kayak Horizons

Kayak Horizons surveys the following monitoring site(s): South T Pier. For more information contact Dennis Krueger. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Kit Harma

Kit Harma surveys the following monitoring site(s): 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(s): Hood Canal Lofall Dock, Indianola. For more information about Hood Canal Lofall Dock contact Linda Martin and Jeff Adams. For more information about Indianola contact Niki Quester 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 site(s): 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(s): Pulali Point. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Michael Kyte

Michael Kyte surveys the the following monitoring site(s): Cama Beach, Edmonds Ferry, Neptune Beach. For more information contact Michael Kyte. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium surveys the following monitoring site(s): Embarcadero, South Beach Pier, South Jetty Newport ST. For more information contact Peter Pearsall. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Pacific Lutheran University

Pacific Lutheran University surveys the following monitoring site(s): Jerisich Dock, Tongue Point. For more information contact Michael Behrens

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve surveys the following monitoring site(s): Dodd, Effingham Bay, Hand Island, Island Harbour, Nettle, Turret. 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 site(s): Indian Island Bridge, Indian Island County Park, PTMSC Pier. For more information contact Betsy Carlson. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Salish Sea Stewards 

Salish Sea Stewards surveys the following monitoring site(s): Guemes Is South Beach. For more information contact Jazz Morgan. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society

Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society surveys the following monitoring site(s): Kwisitis Point, Strawberry Island, Tonquin Beach, Ucluelet Harbour. For more information contact Jessica Edwards. 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 site(s): Otter Rock and Roads End (Cascade Head). 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(s): Vashon North East Ferry Pier, Vashon North Ferry Pier. For more information contact Jeff Adams. To view data see graph link(s) below:

Other Sites

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