The Oregon Coast Aquarium invites the public to explore Oregon’s coastal waters this summer while helping local scientists for the annual Marine Reserve Bioblitzes.
The aquarium and partners are hosting a series of Bioblitzes along the coast during the months of June and July in order to survey the plants and animals of the region.
A Bioblitz is an intensive survey of a defined area on a single day, with the goal of identifying all the species to be found in that area at one time — it is a snapshot of biodiversity.
Bioblitzes are free, open to all ages and are a great way to explore Oregon’s tidepools during the lowest tides of the year. Participants can download the iNaturalist app to contribute their findings to the Bioblitz. This is a useful tool (for smartphones) that enables any observer of the natural world, of any skill level, to contribute information to a vast national database.
The first round of Bioblitzes begins this week at multiple marine reserve locations, and the second round is in the first week of July. For a complete list of dates, locations and times, visit www.aquarium.org/bioblitz.
The State of Oregon has five marine reserves: Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua and Redfish Rocks. These areas in coastal waters are dedicated to conservation and scientific research, where all ocean development and removal of species is prohibited. Oregon created the marine reserves to conserve marine habitats and biodiversity while serving as living laboratories to learn about Oregon’s nearshore ecosystems and the potential effects that protections can have over time.
In order to understand the effects of the reserves, key information is needed on the original species compositions of each area to establish a baseline — providing information about what plant species are there and how abundant they are. The Bioblitzes, along with dive surveys and SMURFing (Standard Monitoring Unites for the Recruitment of Fishes), serve as methods for collecting this information.