Squidpops For Everyone

Following on the heels of my previous post about Squidpops, I thought I’d  post an update.

Have you ever craved a squid lollipop? Me neither, but the Smithsonian’s MarineGEO project is hoping that they may be the key to unlocking marine community structure worldwide. We may not think a squid lollipop (or ‘squidpop’ as it is called) would be any good, but apparently lots of coastal fishes, strong drivers of community structure, do.

As part of the MarineGEO program’s ongoing mission to develop and support long-term and open access research of our world’s coasts, we have recently launched the Ocean Bitemap initiative. The goal of this initiative is to “map top-down processes in coastal ecosystems.” To do this we are asking scientists and aspiring-scientists alike to deploy squidpops in their local waters. We even made a handy how-to video:

The Ocean Bitemap Blog is regularly updated with the most recent incoming data and news. In addition, you can submit your data to MarineGEO for inclusion in the data set.

Ocean Bitemap has already seen participation from dozens of partners in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Even a middle schooler from Florida won his school science fair by using Squidpops as a scientific tool! The hope is to include data from every major coastal region in the world. The website has everything you need to participate including detailed protocols and other resources. Even if you can’t accomplish the additional fish-survey component, a Squidpop deployment on its own in any sort of marine habitat is another useful data point.

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