Marine Reserves News: Behind the scenes of marine reserves enforcement, BioBlitzes, and more

A Deeper Dive

Eyes in the Sky: Aerial Enforcement of Marine Reserves


A small, white, single engine plane bumped down the runway, gaining speed as it became airborne. It soared high above the coast as an Oregon State Police Trooper peered through binoculars at the ocean’s surface 2000 feet below. It was a cloudless May morning and the sun bounced blindingly off the surface of the water as we patrolled fishing activities out in the ocean. White caps were already starting to form as the mid-morning ocean breeze picked up. Suddenly the trooper spotted a wayward buoy bobbing on the surface. It was just outside of the surfzone right along the south boundary of one of Oregon’s marine reserves.

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Citizen Science Opportunity: Marine Reserves Bioblitzes


Mark your calendars! Come participate in a series of BioBlitzes starting today and running through July.

A BioBlitz is an intensive survey of a defined area on a single day with the goal of identifying all the species to be found in that area at one time – it is a snapshot of biodiversity. The Oregon Coast Aquarium and partners are leading this opportunity to explore Oregon's marine reserves. 

Bioblizes will be occurring at the following marine reserves:


  • June 6th (happening now!) at 8:30 AM: Otter Rock Marine Reserve - Devil's Punchbowl
  • June 7th at 9 AM: Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve - Port Orford Heads
  • June 8th at 10:40 AM: Cascade Head Marine Reserve - Roads End Beach


  • July 5th at 8:30 AM: Otter Rock Marine Reserve
  • July 6th at 9:30 AM: Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve
  • July 6th at 9:30 AM: Cascade Head Marine Reserve
  • July 6th at 9 AM: Cape Falcon Marine Reserve - Neakahnnie-Manzanita State Park
  • July 7th at 9 AM: Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve - Port Orford Heads

Be sure to check the Oregon Coast Aquarium's website for more info and how to RSVP. And don't forget to grab our tidepool etiquette flier for tidepooling tips. 

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Keep Up with us on Flickr


Follow along and take a look at our photos on Flickr. From SCUBA surveys deep beneath the surface of the ocean, to intertidal research and sea star surveys, outreach events, and social science research - there's lots to see. 

Click here or the button below to see what we've been up to. 

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Velella Velella Washing Ashore


Photo by Stephen Grace

Perhaps you've taken a walk on one of Oregon’s beaches in the week or so and noticed a vivid hue of purplish blue along the shore. This is a common site in the winter and spring thanks to the invertebrate Velella velella. Also known as “By-the-Wind Sailor,” they are akin to a living blue boat (actually they're a free-floating hydrozoan) that is at the mercy of the winds. Storms blow these odd creatures with melodious names ashore, stranding them in uncountable numbers.

There's lots more info about these strange looking creatures in this story by author and photographer, Stephen Grace

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Updates From the Field

With field season in full swing, it's been a busy month of hook-and-line, longline, and SCUBA surveys, along with oceanography, juvenile fish research and more.

hook and line surveys

Thanks to our volunteer anglers, we completed three days of spring hook-and-line surveys at the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve and it’s comparison areas. We’ll be completing a final spring survey day in early June.


With the help of our volunteer scientific divers, we completed 115 SCUBA transects and collected video from 23 video lander drops at the Otter Rock Marine Reserve and it’s comparison area.

ROV surveys

We completed a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) survey at the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and it’s two comparison areas. A big THANK YOU to the ODFW Marine Habitat Project and F/V Timmy Boy who were instrumental in carrying out this survey and used their creative problem solving skills to overcome several mechanical and electronics issues with the ROV while out at sea.

Ocean Mooring

We installed oceanographic instruments at the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve to collect data on temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. The collection of these data will be ongoing through the entire summer.


Longline surveys are underway at Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and its associated comparison areas with three days of fishing completed and three additional days planned for June.


Volunteer divers deployed Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) in Otter Rock Marine Reserve and the Cape Foulweather Comparison Area. To learn more about ARMS see our blog post from last month.

Updates from our Collaborators


pH sensors were deployed at Redfish Rocks, Cape Perpetua, Otter Rock, Cascade Head, and Cape Falcon by PISCO scientists from OSU, with assistance from local community members.


Juvenile fish recruitment surveys (SMURFs) were conducted at Otter Rock and Redfish Rocks (by OSU, ODFW Marine Reserves Program, Oregon Coast Aquarium). These surveys will continue through the summer.

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