Eelgrass Monitoring in Bodega Bay Harbor, California - Sonoma MPA CollaborativeLatest update June 13, 2018 Started on June 13, 2018
Monitoring the eelgrass population in Bodega Bay Harbor, California
Eelgrass is an important foundation species found in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries. Like other seagrass species, eelgrass can form large meadows that provide habitat for hundreds of associated species. Eelgrass also provides a number of ecosystem services, including nursery habitat for commercially and recreationally valued fishery species, erosion prevention, wave and storm protection, oxygen production, and carbon sequestration. Unfortunately, seagrasses are in global decline in large part due to human disturbances like physical destruction of habitat, excessive input of nutrients and resulting consequences (macro- and micro-algal blooms), and changes to the coastal food web due to overfishing. In order to protect this important resource, we need to know the current extent of eelgrass and determine whether it is changing over time. We seek to establish an ongoing monitoring program that uses a Trident ROV to quantitatively track significant changes in eelgrass habitat over space and time in Bodega Bay Harbor, California. We propose a program that includes researchers and students at Bodega Marine Reserve and Laboratory and citizen scientists, and employs vetted monitoring techniques for detecting changes in seagrass occurrence and cover using remote underwater video.
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