In the current climate of global warming, increased fishing effort, ocean acidification and burgeoning coastal populations,increasing conservations measures couldn’t be more timely.
Are we doing enough however?
Well we are on the right track, but more can always be done. What limits our understanding of coral reef ecosystems and the expansion of MPAs is the absence of well replicated and rigorous data at spatial scales that match the scale at which these major processes operate. Climate change, fishing, and ocean acidification all operate at spatial scales of 100’s – 1000s kms and along entire coastal margins and we now need to match our data collection efforts at that scale.
In 2012 Moving Sushi put together a team of scientists, photographers and film makers to travel boat from southern Mozambique to the Somalia/Kenya border within four-five months. The goal, to conduct coral reef surveys at regular intervals along the coast and to collate data on coral, reef fish, ecosystems and fishing effort. This will be the first study where an entire coastline has been surveyed in one-fell-swoop, using modern digital and advanced survey methods to remove any concerns of bias and error that plague more traditional techniques. What we are planning to do with this data is disseminate for free to anyone and everyone that wants it.using stereo-imaging.EAMT will gather large-scale quantitative data on diversity, abundance and fish body size from South Africa to Somalia.
The data collected will be used in a wide range from education purposes, high schools, universities, through to NGO, and governments and MPA managers. The users are essentially unlimited. The value is in the exposure that is across platforms, from scientific to social media and all in between. Value is in the data that can be used by many different people.
We envision this becoming a globally deployable strategy where each coastline or major coral reef network around the globe can be studied in such a way. A standardized and repeatable survey tool means it can be done year after year if need be.
The cheap low cost contextualized technology ensures smaller national scale surveys can continue adding to the data set ,opening up data not only for scientist and academics to use, but communities, divers, and the citizen scientist! The benefits of which will extend beyond the period of data collection, as the imagery will provide a permanent record of the states of these marine communities and ecosystems. In years to come, the same expedition or smaller national data collection strategies can be repeated to then compare the data against the 2012-2013 data.
We are now in the post production stage, having successfully completed the expedition, the data will take up to six months to dissect and analyse- from there we will make it available follow us on twitter, facebook or our mailer to keep up to date with our progress.