Seagrass monitoring in the Mediterranean SeaFebruary 28 2018
Development of a cheap, easy, citizen-science method of monitoring the health of seagrass populations in the Mediterranean Sea.
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Seagrasses are valuable habitat and in decline worldwide. The neptune grass, Posidonia oceanica, is the most important seagrass habitat in the Mediterranean and is in decline or recently absent at several locations. An inexpensive and easy method is necessary to monitor small declines in order to prevent loss and manage this habitat. We have developed a geospatial video towfish method in which a camera and depth sensors are towed from a boat and geopositioned with submeter accuracy. We would like to migrate this method to an ROV, the Trident system in order to make it usable throughout the Mediterranean. We envision a citizen-science based method of seagrass monitoring in which we use a fleet of Tridents that are sent out to ROV enthusiasts throughout coastal locations. Each Trident is deployed at a chosen location and sent back to the main lab for analysis, and images are stored permanently for future comparison. The regression of seagrass occurrence or cover against depth is compared at different places and times as a quantitative measure of change over space and time. Decline or increase is defined as a change in the parameters of a logistic regression of seagrass occurrence against depth. For more information on the statistics of seagrass monitoring and geospatial videographic monitoring, see our published work here: