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Marine Life Inventories


Back Bay Science Center offers our Marine Life Inventory one Saturday a month, featuring hands-on programming and a curriculum geared toward 7th-grade to college-age students.  Participation is free and open to all members of the public.

This event opens for check-in at 8:45 AM and concludes at 1:00 PM.  We recommend dressing for sunny, chilly, wet, and muddy conditions.

Events have 25 spots each and dates fill up quickly so register as far in advance as possible.  This is a public program and spots are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis.

Please note: Participants under 15 years old must be accompanied by an adult and anyone under 18 must have waiver forms signed by their legal guardian.

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2023 Dates:

January 21          Full 3

February 4         Full

March 18            Full

April 15                Full

May 20               Full

June 17               Full

July 29               Full

August 12           Full

September 9    Full

October 14        Full

November 4     Full

December 2    23 open spots

To register, click the link below
or send an email to
or leave us a message at (949)640-4402

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What is a Marine Life Inventory and why is it important?

To better understand changes in water quality and population dynamics in Upper Newport Bay, the Back Bay Science Center conducts monthly biological surveys called Marine Life Inventories. This program is available to students and the public to assist with tracking local biodiversity and physical environment inside the Ecological Reserve.  It provides those involved with an immersive experience collecting local marine fish, invertebrates, and plankton.

What to expect at the event:

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.

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