Earth Tech Environmental recently went out to Clam Bay to conduct annual seagrass monitoring. Seagrass is an ecologically valuable resource because it helps stabilize the sea floor, provides food and habitat for marine organisms, helps maintain water quality, and supports local economies.
Can you spot the seagrass from the aerials below?
Our ecologists took to the water to visually determine the presence/absence of seagrass. Using a method called the Braun-Blanquet, the species type, abundance and density was quantified at set locations.
In addition to seagrass, a variety of marine critters were observed during the survey, lending to the value of seagrasses and their habitats.
The results of the seagrass survey dictate what, if any action should be taken. If there is an increase in seagrass, great, but why? What factors were different from last year? Was there a decline? Is it that the seagrass was slower in coming back this year? Have there been any natural disturbances the previous year, any human-made activities in the area?
Seagrass is ephemeral in nature, meaning coverage can change not only from year to year, but within the growing season, itself (June through September). For this reason, ongoing, long-term monitoring data is crucial to understanding seagrass ecosystems and how best to manage these valuable habitats.