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Shoreline Biota Monitoring

Examining ways to affordably monitor shoreline biota.

Photographs of Mearn’s Rock in 1994 (top) and 2007 (bottom) showing changes in organisms covering the rock.
Caption:
Photographs of Mearn’s Rock in 1994 (top) and 2007 (bottom) showing changes in organisms covering the rock.
Estimates of bare rock, other, mussels, barnacles, and focus on Mearns rock each year.

Caption:

Estimates of bare rock, other, mussels, barnacles, and focus on Mearns rock each year.

Background

Understanding the effects and recovery from an oil spill depends on having knowledge of the baseline before the spill. However, there the organisms inhabiting the shoreline that may be impacted are continually changing due to natural processes. The establishment of baseline conditions therefore require a means to affordably detect what is present and how it changes over time.

Methods

The use of photographic time series is examined as a means to provide information about variability in the biota of the shoreline. ShoreZone mapping – aerial photographic surveys of an entire section of coast – provide extensive spatial coverage but are expensive enough that they cannot be done often. Photographic time series at fixed points provide another approach to obtaining temporal resolution and more detail on the organisms present. Use of time lapse and webcams provide greater information about short-term changes but are restricted in coverage. The range of photographic time series were considered while developing a set of protocols to observe shoreline biota.

Results

Protocols were developed using a range of types of photographic time series to detect changes in space and time. The protocols are available at http://www.pws-osri.org/wp- content/uploads/2013/05/11-10- 12-Harper-3-amigos.pdf. Using the time series it is possible to detect rapid changes in coverage on the shoreline coverage.