Combating the Algae InvasionMarch 4 2018
Here in Hawaii, land-use changes and human activities have lead to the rise of invasive algae that have wreaked havoc across our marine landscape. The state of Hawaii has declared that invasive species, including algae, are “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”
The scope of this project is to employ citizen scientists and community volunteers to embark on an eradication effort of invasive algae species in Maunalua Bay of Oahu, Hawaii. Underwater ROV imagery, combined with aerial sUAS footage, will help guide citizen science and coastal planning efforts to restore the bay by helping us to pinpoint what invasive algae species we are dealing with, what is the percent cover and where.
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This project will support the restoration efforts of Mālama Maunalua; a local nonprofit. Mālama Maunalua has engaged approximately 3,000 volunteers, including 1,000 students, to participate in our 30+ community hukis (invasive algae removal events) every year for the past eight years. More than 3.5 million pounds have been removed and recycled as soil amendment at local farms. Even with schedule hukis several times a month, Mālama Maunalua lacks the eyes and hands needed to map and monitor the 28 acres of the bay on a regular basis. Future work aims to employ underwater ROV imagery and aerial sUAS imagery to improve our understanding of algal cover and regrowth dynamics.