Our first Tide Bite of the new year describes some work done below the tides here in the San Juans: a long-term monitoring effort on the status of communities of seaweeds and invertebrates attached to the rocky walls that characterize most of the channels between our islands. What is perhaps not clear from this description is the enormous effort that goes into obtaining any data – whether they be photographs, counts or descriptions – in such habitats. SCUBA diving in cold, high-current environments is HARD and for each dive, researchers like Derek also have to find a dive buddy, a time of day when the currents aren’t running too fast, and a qualified boat driver on a day with decent weather – and that’s all before even getting into the water! But long-term studies are essential for understanding the health of any habitat, and Derek’s efforts to analyze subtidal community data constitute a key step in this challenging direction, as you’ll read here.
Wishing you a very happy New Year,
Dr. Megan Dethier
FHL Interim Director