The first annual report to the Port of Friday Harbor is available in PDF FHMHO First Annual Review 2010. The summary is below:
“The FHMHO project got under way this past spring with Russel Barsh, director of Kwiaht, at the helm. Armed with a brave group of Beach Watcher volunteers, Mr. Barsh designed and implemented a long term study of the marine organisms living on the docks of Friday Harbor. The goals of the study were tri-fold- to create a master list of species that are observed here, to create a list of species whose changes in populations or locations or seasonality might indicate changes in the health of the Port and the bay, and to collect relevant data as a starting point for identifying trends.
The volunteers were assembled and trained in data collection, invertebrate identification and monitoring protocol. These determined volunteers saw the project through many revisions as the kinks of data collection were worked out. Working in teams of at least two, these volunteers visited their assigned locations in the Port of Friday Harbor and at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories once a month (rain or shine!) and recorded all species observed. That data was then entered and graphed by species, location, season and abundance.
With months of data collected, some interesting information began to emerge. For example the team learned that while decorator crabs were seen most frequently on H dock, graceful kelp crabs seemed to prefer the docks at Friday Harbor Laboratories. Sea stars were most abundant by the University of Washington Labs, but surprisingly nudibranchs were most often spotted on or near the fuel dock! The volunteers have already learned a great deal about research and are now beginning to generate questions which will shape the direction of the project as it moves into a new year. Thanks to the critical thinking of the volunteer researchers, more variables will be recorded during future observations.
This spring will also see the development of an interpretive station at the Spring Street passenger terminal. By using an underwater camera and live footage the station will focus on the beds of eelgrass in the harbor, and the sea life therein. The project hopes to make visible the importance of eelgrass as an essential habitat and food source for animals ranging from anemones, crabs, snails, fish and birds.”