Given the disdain for the word “weed,” it’s not surprising that seaweed gets such little respect in most developed human cultures. But, we are finding seaweed and its rooted cousin seagrass hold immeasurable value for the future of humankind. Time to get to work mapping it!
Seagrasses are considered vascular plants and have roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. According to a report from the United Nations in 2020, there are more than 70 species across the globe covering over 300,000 km2 (which is likely a vast underestimate) making them one of the most widespread coastal habitats.
Blake Anderson is the harbormaster at the Santa Cruz Harbor in California. As harbormaster he oversees all the operations of the harbor, harbor patrol staff, which includes search and rescue, law enforcement and public safety. He also oversees administration of about 1000 boat slips and day to day operations of the harbor. 6 years ago, Blake was faced with the challenge of rapidly mapping the constant shifting sand shoals in the harbor and turned his attention to BioBase as a potentially rapid mapping system
What is BioBase? BioBase is composed of two different products, EcoSound and EcoSat. Ecosat processes satellite imagery to create shallow vegetation and benthic habitat maps. While, EcoSound uses off-the-shelf sonar technology and automatic cloud processing to create professional bathymetry, bottom composition, and aquatic vegetation maps. BioBase removes the labor intensive and high cost elements of acquiring high quality data very quickly so you can focus your efforts on aquatic resource management.
BioBase’s EcoSound is a powerful cloud platform for creating high definition lake or coastal maps of depth, aquatic vegetation (or seagrass), and bottom hardness from Lowrance® and Simrad®
sonar systems. For the user, the process of converting volumes of raw sonar and gps signals into an intuitive map is easy and requires very little input upfront. Record your sonar while out on the water to a microSD card, plug the card into your PC back at the office, log into your BioBase account and upload. Algorithms on remote servers do the rest of the work. However, one of the most frequently overlooked parts of this equation is careful attention to the proper installation of the transducer sensor that is pinging the bottom and collecting all the information below the boat. The importance of proper transducer installation cannot be overstated. If the transducer is not properly placed on the boat or not at the appropriate angle, your BioBase outputs could be inaccurate. Modelers have heard it said many times (sometimes in more colorful language), the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input.