While continuing to collect data from those 11 research sites — now as part of a partnership with Western Washington University’s Shannon Point Marine Center in Anacortes — Eisenlord has seen signs of eelgrass wasting increase and decrease at different locations.
Beach Haven on the north side of San Juan Island recently saw an increase.
“We only know for sure this year that that is not normal,” Eisenlord said of the need for long-term data.
Western Washington University graduate student Tyler Tran, who is also studying eelgrass, helped Eisenlord gather leaves from plants at Ship Harbor and other locations this summer for further analysis in the lab.
While at the beach July 25, Tran slid leaves between his fingers to clear them of mud before winding them up like ribbon and placing each in labeled sandwich bags.