3rd Annual Nahant Coastal Bioblitz
Marine Science Center
Bioblitz locations (click map pins for details)
Thank you to all the participants!
Sunday, September 10, 2017
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Rain or Shine
Free, public, for all ages
Online registration is now closed. Registration available at the event.
What’s a Bioblitz?
A Bioblitz is a scientific scavenger hunt for marine biodiversity. Citizen scientists of all ages can participate! While you’re exploring Nahant’s beaches, you’ll try to record and identify all the marine life that you can find. We provide the buckets, datasheets, and field guides– you bring your curiosity! Then bring your bucket of treasures to the Northeastern University Marine Science Center to find out how you did and share your results!
The Nahant Coastal Bioblitz is organized by the Ocean Genome Legacy Center (OGL) at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center and by Nahant S.W.I.M. (Safer Waters in Massachusetts).
About the Bioblitz:
Sunday, September 10, 2017
From 9:00 am – 11:00 am: Start at either of two meeting points (see map above). Then explore beaches around Nahant while recording biodiversity data. Collect a few species in your bucket to identify and share later on.
From 11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Gather in the Northeastern University Marine Science Center’s bunker classroom with your buckets to share your findings, meet marine scientists, and participate in educational activities at our touch tanks, microscopes, and poster stations.
If you plan to attend, please register here:
Frequently Asked Questions
Why host a Bioblitz?
The biodiversity of our oceans is important for the health of our planet’s ecosystems and for providing humankind with food, income, recreation, medicines, useful products, and even much of the air we breathe. This Bioblitz will help scientists document Nahant’s marine biodiversity so we can track how our beaches are changing and plan for their future. This event is also a special opportunity to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards and to demonstrate how citizens can promote ocean conservation.
What will I do?
You’ll document and identify marine life by exploring a beach and filling out a datasheet. When you arrive at either of our meeting points (Nahant Life-Saving Station or Northeastern University Marine Science Center), you’ll receive instructions and supplies, including a clipboard, datasheet, pencil, and bucket.
You’ll then explore a nearby beach and use the datasheet to record all the species that you find. If you find a creature that you can’t identify or that you want to discuss with our marine science volunteers, you can keep it alive in your bucket.
Finally, at 11:00 am, bring your supplies and your curiosity to the Northeastern University Marine Science Center. There, you’ll share your findings, meet marine scientists, enjoy snacks, and participate in educational activities at our touch tanks, microscopes, and poster stations.
Where can I park?
Free event parking is available at our two meeting points: the Nahant Life-Saving Station (96 Nahant Rd) and the Northeastern University Marine Science Center (430 Nahant Rd). Please note that other parking in Nahant is by permit only.
Note: The event will end promptly at 12pm. At that time, participants are expected to vacate the Marine Science Center parking lot as the gate will be closed and locked.
Do I need to bring anything?
You should bring anything that you’ll need to stay safe and comfortable on the beach. We suggest sunscreen, hats, safe water-friendly footwear, and water to drink. We’ll provide the datasheets, clipboards, pencils, buckets, and identification guides.
Do I have to go swimming?
No, you can find lots of marine life on the beach without going underwater. As always, please be safe around the ocean, especially in rocky areas.
What happens if it rains?
Our Bioblitz is happening rain or shine! You’ll be indoors when we gather at the Marine Science Center.
What will the tide be like on Bioblitz day?
Our Bioblitz takes place at low tide so you can explore as much beach area as possible.
Do I need any background in marine science?
No, we welcome curious learners of all ages!
What’s on the datasheet?
First, you’ll record your name and the beach location that you explored. The datasheet will include pictures of different marine species that you’re likely to encounter. For each species, you’ll record approximately how many individuals you found: “Single (just 1),” “Few (2-10),” “Many (11-100,” or “Abundant (>100).” You can also record other notes, such as the size, color, and habitat of the organisms that you found.
What do you do with the information on the data sheets?
We’ll make the data publicly available on our website and through other citizen science projects. Stay tuned!
How do I collect marine life in my bucket?
If you find a small organism that’s easy to handle (like a snail or a piece of seaweed), you can keep it alive in your bucket with some seawater.
What if I can’t catch the creature I found?
You can take a photo instead. We still appreciate your observations!
What if I find lots of one kind of marine species?
You can record this observation on your datasheet. If you want to identify or further study this marine species, you can photograph just one individual, or put just one individual in your bucket. You don’t need to fit them all!
What counts as marine life?
All living animals, plants, and seaweed (algae) “count” as marine life for our Bioblitz.
What about seaweed, eggs, or empty seashells?
Seaweed (or algae) is a living thing, and it’s very interesting to us! We prefer living things (rather than empty eggs or shells) because they tell us about what’s alive in the ocean now. But if you’re especially interested, you can still collect or photograph empty shells and we’ll help you identify them.
What happens to the marine life after the Bioblitz?
Please return the marine life to their homes!
How will my Bioblitz findings help Nahant’s marine life?
By surveying Nahant’s marine life, you’ll help scientists understand how Nahant’s biodiversity could be changing over time. If marine species appear on or disappear from the beach “neighborhood,” it could disrupt the ecosystem and harm fishing, swimming, and recreation. These changes can happen very gradually, so Bioblitzers might be some of the first people to notice!
You’ll also help us learn how Nahant’s biodiversity compares to other beaches in the past, present, and future. For example, climate change is affecting the world’s oceans, and we want to know what this means for Nahant and the Boston area. Since this event is Nahant’s second Coastal Bioblitz, it’s a critical starting point, and we’ll compare future Bioblitzes to your findings. Scientists, local officials, and concerned citizens can use biodiversity information to make decisions and protect marine life.
What’s an invasive species and why are they a threat?
Invasive species are creatures that cause harm when they spread beyond their native ecosystem. For example, invasive species might eat native species, out-compete native species, cause or carry disease, or change the environment. In these ways, invasive species can harm native species, affect the economy, or threaten human health. You can learn more about invasive species here: https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Invasive-Species.aspx
What does OGL do?
The Ocean Genome Legacy Center (OGL) is a non-profit marine DNA bank dedicated to exploring and preserving the threatened biological diversity of the sea. We preserve marine DNA and tissue samples to make them widely available to scientists around the world for research in conservation, medicine, sustainability, biotechnology, and other areas. You can learn more about us here: http://www.northeastern.edu/ogl/about/.
Is there an admission fee?
The Nahant Coastal Bioblitz is a free event. However, if you would like to support Ocean Genome Legacy’s mission, we accept donations.
Please contact OGL. We’d be happy to hear from you!