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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.

The event takes place from check-in begins at 8:45 AM and ends at 1:00 PM.  We recommend dressing for wet and/or muddy conditions. Each event is currently limited to 25 participants and requires registration.  

Dates fill up quickly so it is best to register as far in advance as possible.  This is a public program and spots are reserved in a first-come first-served basis.

Please note: Participants less than 15 years of age will need an adult to accompany them to the program and everyone under 18 must have waiver forms filled out by a parent or guardian.

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2023 Dates:

January 21          Full 3

February 4         Full

March 18            Full

April 15                Full

May 20               3 spots left

June 17               23 spots left

July 29               23 spots left

August 12          25 spots left

September 9   25 spots left

October 14       Full

November 4    25 spots left

December 2    25 spots left

To register, click the link below
or email us at
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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