By Joe Gaydos
For the past two weeks SeaDoc, collaborating scientists, and trained volunteer divers have been spending a lot of time underwater. For a total of 15 dives, Joe Gaydos, NOAA Scientist Adam Obaza, and Whale Museum scientific diver Jen Olson conducted annual surveys looking for young of the year rockfish (also called YOYs). While last year was a big recruitment year with thousands and thousands of yellowtail rockfish born, this year we only found one YOY (seen in the first 10 seconds of the video above).
Working with Janna Nichols at REEF Environmental Education Foundation and Bandito Charters, we also hosted more than a dozen trained citizen scientist divers to conduct more than 100 surveys for all fish species, and a subset of 40 or so invertebrates, including species of concern like northern abalone and sunflower sea stars. We did see a few abalone and a few sunflower stars, but not as many as we would have liked. Check out some of the other amazing animals we saw while diving in the video that accompanies this piece. Interested in becoming a trained citizen scientist diver? Check out www.reef.org