Intertidal Community Monitoring
Importance / Issues
Intertidal communities consistently ranked among the top 10 potential vital signs evaluated by KLMN. During the scoping process, intertidal communities and kelp forests were the two marine community types with highest ecological significance, but the latter scored lower in terms of cost and feasibility. Thus, the only marine resources that the Network is monitoring are intertidal communities.
Key reasons for monitoring intertidal communities are their unique species composition and diversity and their position at the land/sea interface, which results in particular sensitivity to ongoing changes in both marine and terrestrial realms (e.g., climate change and associated changes in sea temperatures, circulation patterns, and surface elevation). Intertidal communities are also highly vulnerable to anthropogenic stressors such as oil spills. Finally, the Klamath Network has put a premium on monitoring of keystone species. A classic example of a keystone species occurring in west coast intertidal systems is the sea star (Pisaster ochraceous).
To help contribute to a larger effort, the Klamath Network is monitoring three intertidal sites in Redwood National Park. These three sties will contribute to the MARINe (Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network) program, where over 80 sites are monitored from southern California to northern Washington.
Redwood National Park
Protocol Development & Status
The sampling design follows the established protocols of the MARINe (Multi-Agency Rocky INtertidal Network) program.
Ongoing implementation of the long-term monitoring protocol is being done through a cooperative agreement with the Center for Ocean Health/Long Marine Lab, University of California Santa Cruz.
Monitor the temporal dynamics of target invertebrate and algae species and surfgrasses across accessible, representative, and historically sampled sites that encompass the range of rocky intertidal habitats in the parks to: 1.) Evaluate potential impacts of visitor use or other park-specific activities, and 2.) Provide monitoring information to help assess level of impacts and changes outside normal limits of variation due to oil spills, non-point source pollution, or other anthropogenic stressors that may come from outside the parks.
Determine status, trends, and effect sizes (as applies) through time for morphology (e.g., color ratios) and other key parameters describing population status (e.g., size structure) of the selected intertidal organisms.
Detect and document invasions, changes in species ranges, disease spread, and rates and scales of processes affecting the structure and function of rocky intertidal populations and communities to develop process knowledge of processes and normal limits of variation. Assess the temporal dynamics of target species across multiple sites and integrate data with a network of monitoring groups spanning a broad geographic region.
Parameters to be Measured
Presence / Absence, Percent Cover, Relative Density, Abundance, Counts, Size, and Color.