Baseline Characterization of Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems

Start/End: February, 2014 to January, 2017

The main objective of this project is to produce a quantitative baseline characterization of the region’s rocky intertidal invertebrates and algae, following biodiversity and target-species survey methods developed by the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) and Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe). Researchers will also provide quantitative comparisons between rocky intertidal ecosystems within four MPAs (Pyramid Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), Double Cone SMCA, Ten Mile State Marine Reserve and MacKerricher SMCA) and associated reference sites. According to scientists, about 25-30 fish species (notably, marine sculpins) inhabit tide-pools in the northeast Pacific. Researchers will explore this unique ecological attribute of the North Coast by documenting fish biodiversities in these habitats. In the project’s final year, scientists plan to integrate their baseline assessments of rocky intertidal ecosystems with other components of the baseline monitoring program to help inform the role and design of future MPA monitoring and evaluation. They will also analyze the newly collected data in conjunction with existing PISCO data to look for species that could be used as indicators of rocky intertidal ecosystem health. This project is a collaboration among academic scientists and North Coast tribes.

Co-principal Investigators