Indian Island Marine Health Observatory
Indian Island Marine Health Observatory (Orcas Island) monitors a rocky two-acre island surrounded by beaches and eelgrass meadows, accessible during low tides from the town of Eastsound. Data is collected on the abundance of 38 key invertebrate indicator species (starfish, sea anemones, sea slugs, crabs) living on and under rocks as well as fish species found in the eelgrass meadows. Eelgrass shoot-density, the diversity and age class distribution of infaunal bivalve species buried in beach sands, and contaminant concentrations in bivalves are measured annually. Seabird use of the island is documented several times each month and the flowering time of native plants on the island provide data on climate change. Weekly sampling and a public hotline (360 468-ITOX) monitor potentially toxic phytoplankton blooms cooperatively with NOAA and University of Washington researchers. An annual fall event, Celebrate the Bay, shares monitoring results, music, food and art with the community. A special field guide to marine life at Indian Island is available at local stores, and naturalists provide information on the beach during most daytime low tides.
Visit the website: Indian Island Marine Health Observatory