The Strawberry Island Marine Research Society (SIMRS) Tofino Tidepool Guardian Program is an outdoor experiential education and citizen science project that engages youth and volunteers in sea star monitoring in coastal inter-tidal ecosystems along our local coastline.

We are happy to contribute funding for this local project developed by SIMRS in response to the drastic decline of multiple sea star species on the west coast of North America. Sea Stars are an iconic species, a top predator, and are ecologically important to intertidal ecosystems. Sea Star wasting disease is one of the largest and most widespread marine disease outbreaks in recent history. The rapid loss of this species from our coastline necessitates timely long-term research and monitoring. SIMRS has been surveying sea star populations at four sites since 2015.

Expanding the spacial and temporal range of the project allows SIMRS to contribute to a continent wide data-base and to scale up the program. Populations appear to be increasing again however, the disease is still present at all field sites in Clayoquot Sound. This Tidepool Guardian Program will provide baseline ecological data to understand long-term consequences of disease on our marine community as well as create a widespread communication network.

The citizen science component also connects people with the environment and encourages stewardship, something Ocean Outfitters deeply believes in!

For more information about volunteering and becoming a Tidepool Guardian, contact: strawberryislemarineresearch@gmail.com

Learn more at: http://strawberryisle.org