Reports from the Field – Fall 2023

Photo: The ecological team conducted six different types of surveys during 2023 summer and fall.

Over the last several months the ecological team has been busy with fieldwork across all marine reserve sites.

Cape Falcon, Redfish Rocks Our team completed fall hook-and-line (HnL) surveys out of Garibaldi in September, wrapping up the 2023 season at the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. The four days of sampling could not have been completed without all 37 dedicated volunteers who fished with us. We caught 391 fish with a lot of Red Irish Lord and Buffalo Sculpin at the marine reserve. Thank you to Captain Lance on the F/V Norwester who helped us conduct these surveys. We also completed fall HnL surveys at the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and comparison areas with the help of the F/V Fantasy.

Redfish Rocks For the first time since 2019, six days of longline surveys were completed at the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and comparison areas. Thank you to Captain Wilson on the F/V Fantasy who helped us conduct these surveys.

Otter Rock Fall SCUBA surveys at the Otter Rock Marine Reserve and its comparison area have wrapped up for the season. With the help of volunteer divers and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, 60 transects were completed targeting invertebrate, algae, and benthic communities.

Ocean mooring icon

Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua, Redfish Rocks Oceanographic moorings and sensors at four marine reserves (Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, and Redfish Rocks) were retrieved for the season. Thanks to the following vessels and partners who helped with these efforts: F/V Lady Lee, F/V Fantasy, F/V My Lee, R/V Elakha, R/V Gracie Lynn, and multiple collaborators at Oregon State University. The moorings collect temperature and oxygen data from spring to fall and help us uncover how stressful ocean conditions were during this time (e.g. marine heatwaves and periods of low oxygen). Our OSU collaborators are currently working to retrieve the mooring at Cape Perpetua.

Otter Rock, Redfish Rocks The Standard Monitoring Units for Recruitment of Fishes (SMURFS) were sampled bi-weekly from July- mid-September at both Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock sites. Our collaborators at Oregon State University report 1,824 fish were collected. The SMURFs were retrieved in mid-September for the season.

Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua It was a busy summer of collaborative work in the intertidal. We partnered with UC Santa Cruz and the Multi-Agency-Rocky-Intertidal-Network (MARINe) to complete biodiversity surveys at our three marine reserves. We also worked with partners at Oregon State University to survey the health of sea stars and the community mussel bed. Like last year, less than 1 percent of sea stars showed signs of sea star wasting disease. Thank you to all 18 volunteers who helped us with these early morning surveys.