Welcome to BeachedMarineCritters.org!
*A portal to enter the realm of marine research.*
So many miles of coastline…
So many stranded critters…
Here’s a way you can help!
Tracking the species and locations of stranded marine animals is important for understanding many aspects of our coastal environment. With enough data, we can begin to identify stranding patterns of various species. We can also begin to build predictive models, to try identifying where animals will strand in the future and how the patterns could change. This data can also be used for research into important topics, such as climate change. Now you can help Oregon scientists gather this critical data using this new protocol.
Many things, animal and otherwise, wash up on our beaches, but we are primarily concerned with sea turtles, squid, sharks, and specific types of fish. This protocol will help you identify these key animals. Each species of interest has a specific identification page that includes a representative illustration and several key characteristics that distinguish that animal. When you find a specimen, turn to the page that describes what you think the specimen is, then use these characteristics to confirm your identification. Included for each species are example photographs of the animal. These photographs are intended to be examples only! Some of the images were taken of live, healthy animals, some are of stranded animals, and still others are of animals being prepped for dissection. Any specimen you find may or may not resemble the images, as many species have a lot of color variation and the specimens you find may be in different stages of decomposition. Use the images as examples of what actual specimens may look like, but use the key identification characteristics to confirm your species ID.
Once you have confirmed your identification, fill in the form at the back of this protocol and send it off! Please fill out the form in as much detail as possible, being clear with descriptions. Along with your form, we ask that you send in at least three photos of the specimen you found as well. If you cannot take photos, please send in your form anyway, but if it is at all possible please send in images. Include at least one image of the entire specimen with an object of known size next to it, such as a quarter or a pencil, so that we have a size reference. With your help we can greatly increase our knowledge and understandings about animal strandings along our coast.