Updates From Our Summer Interns
(July 28, 2015)
During the week of July 12th a team of scientists from the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), with help from ODFW, set up sampling plots to monitor rocky intertidal habitats at the Otter Rock and Cascade Head marine reserve sites. Rocky intertidal habitats are located in the intertidal zone, a narrow band of shoreline that is covered by water during high tides and then exposed at low tides.
During a low tide, the team laid out a large grid over the habitat and then proceeded to count the number of mobile invertebrates and survey the organisms attached to the rocks under the grid lines. The team also monitored for sea star wasting disease.
These two reserve sites will be surveyed again every 4-5 years to evaluate changes occurring in the biological community. The sampling sites at the Otter Rock and Cascade Head marine reserves join a dataset formed from over 100 such intertidal sites between Alaska and Mexico, surveyed by the MARINe/PISCO team based out of UCSC.
While the intertidal zone at these two marine reserves are an ideal places to study rocky intertidal habitats and sea star wasting disease, they are also great places to capture the beauty of the Oregon Coast. Otter Rock Marine Reserve, which is located just north of Newport off of Highway 101, is a great place to experience tidepools and become familiar with the rocky intertidal species native to the Oregon Coast. These include different sea stars, anemones, mussels, and more. Walking along the beach will open up into Devils Punchbowl Natural Area, which is a hollow rock shaped by waves over time.
Further north is Cascade Head Marine Reserve, near Lincoln City off Highway 101. This reserve also has some rocky intertidal habitat near Road’s End, with many different species of marine organisms. This area also consists of large, extensive sandy beaches and an opportunity to hike three different trails with spectacular views from atop Cascade Head. All around, visiting these areas or other protected areas in Oregon will hopefully help to create a sense of awareness as well as understanding.