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Friday, May 14, 2010

Sea Grass Monitoring, Take 1 by Jason Derry

Today, due to the weather, was another non-diving day so it gave us time to begin a new area of monitoring. The sea grass. I know it doesn’t sound like fun and this was my exact thought at first, but once we had got started it gave us an opportunity to be creative and leaders in this new data collection. We were the 1st group to complete this monitor in this area.

It started with us all having a briefing about the different sea grasses and the algae’s that we must make sure we don’t count. We had to then create 1x1m quadrats and point markers to mark the transects from anything we could find around base. My group was the lucky one and got the old broom poles and good 2ltr bottles. Others however, were left with sticks and nails. Once we had made our quadrats and point markers we waded out to our positions (one right on shore side of the sea grass, one in about 1.5m of water and one in around 2m of water all running parallel to each other) and placed our markers down.

My group was the second group which meant we were snorkeling but the other groups had to do it either knelt down with their nose in the water or dorkeling (diving but shallow enough to be snorkeling).

Our monitoring included % cover of sea grass and % cover of each of the 2 types of grass, predation, % cover of epiphytes and length of blade. Luckily it was only 20 samples per quadrat with 10 quadrats being completed in each transect. We had to duck dive down and measure the random blade we had selected, check it for predation and work out % cover from epiphytes all on one breathe hold. Sounds easy but when you keep floating off it can take a while to get the hang of it.

After a few goes each it turned into a bit of friendly competition with each person trying to go the longest at getting the measurements as it became quite tiring. No need to write who the winner was.

The day which started with people being a bit down about not diving turned into a fun and laugh packed day with a little bit of sun tanning(or burning) on the side.