Shoreline Biota Monitoring Program

FY 2011 | 3 – Inform | 11/10/12

Shoreline Biota Monitoring Program

John Harper, Coastal & Ocean Resources Inc
Contract Term: 07/01/11- 06/30/12
Award: $29,200

Scope of Work:

This proposal outlines an approach to establish an intertidal biotic monitoring program within the Gulf of Alaska. As a pilot, the program would support broader-scale ecological studies by providing detail on seasonal and inter-annual changes to intertidal biota within Prince William Sound. We propose to develop a draft protocol (our interpretation of the white paper component of the RFP) that is based on a tiered imagery collection program with a few timelapse camera locations (providing daily data), a dozen or so quarterly photo-registered (e. g., Mearns Rock-type photos) and a few dozen annual photo-registered locations. The tiered reference locations would be focused on a single habitat type (e. g., protected, rock cliffs or benches) that can be tied directly to the spatial mapping of ShoreZone. The intention of the tiered station network is to capture temporal changes at the frequently monitored sites and to capture the spatial extent of change within the Sound at a more widely distributed network of monitoring sites. A daily time series of imagery at a few sites is likely to provide direct observations of the agents of change such as hard freezes, ice-scraping events, severe heat events, or biological invasions.

Imagery data collected in PWS will be validated by cross-comparison with annual on-the-ground surveys of an intertidal site in Kachemak Bay, Alaska that has been regularly censused since 1999 (Klinger and Fukuyama, submitted). Establishing a site at which daily, quarterly and annual images are collected in combination with annual quadrat sampling will assist in the interpretation of the imagery data and improve the power of the analysis.

An image-based monitoring program will allow citizen scientists and community scientists to interact with research scientists throughout the program. Image acquisition can be performed by citizen scientists and by community-based scientists. Image categorization can be performed by community-based scientists using the three-amigo protocol. A quarterly program review will be conducted by research scientists to ensure data management and interpretation meet anticipated standards.

The ultimate goals of such a program are: (1) to publish results in a refereed journal to ensure they are to a rigorous scientific standard and can be used as high-quality baseline data; (2) disseminate the protocols for implementation across a broader geographic area; and (3) invest community scientists in performance of long-term monitoring of their local sites.