Marine Life Inventories

2021 Dates: 

July 24 (Sold out)

August 14

September 11

October 23 (Sold out)

November 20 (Sold out)

December 11 (Sold out)

About the monthly MLI program

Long-term studies are conducted in coastal zones around the globe to monitor human impacts and environmental changes on these fragile ecosystems. To better understand what is happening in our own threatened estuarine ecosystem, the Back Bay Science Center conducts a monthly biological survey called the Marine Life Inventory (MLI). This program is available for local students and the public to assist us with tracking the marine biodiversity and physical environment of Upper Newport Bay. It provides those involved with a hands-on, immersive experience collecting local marine fish, invertebrates, and plankton.

After an introductory lecture on the history and importance of the Back Bay, participants join us in the field to deploy scientific sampling equipment and learn about collection techniques such as: trawl nets used for collecting bottom-dwelling fish and other organisms, a beach seine to survey the animals living near the shoreline, mud sampling devices to capture invertebrates living in the sediment, and plankton nets for collecting the microscopic plants and animals drifting in the open waters of the bay. Data is entered into a database which can be downloaded as an Excel file. Marine researchers and educators can look at seasonal and long-term trends in fish and invertebrate abundance and/or water quality.

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