Update from MassBays: Drones and other remote methods

Hi there from the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Partnership. I’m new to this CoP, but not new to seagrass mapping, and wanted to say a quick hello and provide an update on our goings-on.

For one, I just finished a masters thesis testing the utility of drones and image classification tools to map eelgrass and other coastal habitats in temperate MA waters. Reach out to me if you’d like a see a recording of the defense (or await patiently for a manuscript to follow!) Many lessons learned, but there is a hopeful future for this technology even in our turbid waters.

Also, MassBays is kicking off a NOAA Project of Special Merit grant that will compare meadow edge-detection capabilities across several remote methods and compare their accuracies against diver surveys. We will look at the performance of side scan sonar, drone, fixed-wing manned aerial, and satellite imagery in detecting the edge as well as low-density areas. The goal is to better understand if and by how much each method underestimates the meadow, and in terms of management, if there are appropriate buffers that can be applied to delineations from each method for better resource protection.

Lastly, we developed a protocol and web app for citizen science collection of eelgrass data - both can be found at www.iseagrass.com.

After 10 years of working with eelgrass, I’m happy to now be part of this group, and would gladly discuss the above projects further here or at jill.carr@mass.gov. Thanks!

Welcome to the group Jill!
Excited to have you here and learn from your experiences with drones for mapping.
If you have a link to your defense I would be interested to see it. And be sure to post your manuscript to the Current Literature thread when it comes out.

Thanks for your interest, Dottie! The recording can be found here.