Presentation Abstract

The Highline Marine Science & Technology Center (MaST) is the marine science and aquarium facility of Highline College, Des Moines, Washington, and is located on the south-central Puget Sound. The central mission of the MaST is to foster a culture of marine stewardship by engaging the community with the local coastal environment. The MaST Center runs multiple Citizen Science programs, in which members of our community help collect and record data. In particular, the work of ‘The Nudibranch Team’ exemplifies citizen science achievement at the MaST. Since 2013, the Nudibranch Team has been identifying and collecting species abundance on several nudibranch species. These nudibranchs enter our aquarium as plankton, traveling from the Puget Sound through the open-flow seawater system, and subsequently recruit in our tanks. Thus the benthic communities of our aquaria serve as a model system for the local environment. It is less difficult to accurately identify and count nudibranchs in our center than in the field. Our aquarium based data collection also provides the opportunity to participate in scientific research to a wide range of abilities, and does not require citizen scientists to be SCUBA certified. Data collection has occurred weekly since 2013, and consists of trained volunteers scanning each tank for nudibranchs, identifying the species and recording the number of individuals. We have analyzed four complete years (2014-2017) of this data for population trends of five nudibranch species that are frequently found in our aquaria, and that are easily and reliably identified by volunteers: Hermissenda crassicornis, Aeolidia papillosa, Onchidoris bilamellata, Archidoris montereyensis, and Diaulula odonoghuei. Preliminary analysis indicates that some species are showing predictable seasonal peaks, while others are more variable.

Session Title

Posters: Data & Information Management

Keywords

citizen science, community aquarium, nudibranch, population trends

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-34

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Tracking temporal and seasonal changes in nudibranch populations: citizen science data from a community aquarium

The Highline Marine Science & Technology Center (MaST) is the marine science and aquarium facility of Highline College, Des Moines, Washington, and is located on the south-central Puget Sound. The central mission of the MaST is to foster a culture of marine stewardship by engaging the community with the local coastal environment. The MaST Center runs multiple Citizen Science programs, in which members of our community help collect and record data. In particular, the work of ‘The Nudibranch Team’ exemplifies citizen science achievement at the MaST. Since 2013, the Nudibranch Team has been identifying and collecting species abundance on several nudibranch species. These nudibranchs enter our aquarium as plankton, traveling from the Puget Sound through the open-flow seawater system, and subsequently recruit in our tanks. Thus the benthic communities of our aquaria serve as a model system for the local environment. It is less difficult to accurately identify and count nudibranchs in our center than in the field. Our aquarium based data collection also provides the opportunity to participate in scientific research to a wide range of abilities, and does not require citizen scientists to be SCUBA certified. Data collection has occurred weekly since 2013, and consists of trained volunteers scanning each tank for nudibranchs, identifying the species and recording the number of individuals. We have analyzed four complete years (2014-2017) of this data for population trends of five nudibranch species that are frequently found in our aquaria, and that are easily and reliably identified by volunteers: Hermissenda crassicornis, Aeolidia papillosa, Onchidoris bilamellata, Archidoris montereyensis, and Diaulula odonoghuei. Preliminary analysis indicates that some species are showing predictable seasonal peaks, while others are more variable.