Shallow Water Lander

Shallow Water Lander: Species Distribution Modeling

In order to better inform marine resource managers, we are using an ecosystem-based approach to evaluate species distributions.  We are developing advanced species distribution models that take into account habitat and environmental features with which species associate, quantify the relationships of species with those habitats, and identify the geographic distribution of habitats across a species range. In order to accomplish this, we are developing highly resolved maps that incorporate geomorphic, biotic, geographic, and oceanographic features. These maps along with in situ surveys allow us to create a complete model. Our in situ surveys couple SCUBA surveys with newly developed drop camera surveys. By utilizing both survey methods, we can evaluate the reliability and cost-effectiveness of our new drop camera method.

Research Objectives:

1. To advance statistical rigor in the use of spatially explicit species distribution models.

2. To test new, inexpensive video tools, evaluate their effectiveness, and assess the potential for citizen science application

3.  To provide the information collected to management agencies with recommendations for their use in fisheries management and MPA evaluation

Study Area:

The Santa Barbara Channel from Point Dume to Point Conception. This area was chosen because it has been extensively mapped by the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP)

Citizen Science:

We are also testing whether crowdsourcing can be used to analyze large video data sets. We provide undergraduates with a fish and invertebrate identification booklet and a subset of our video data. We can then compare the accuracy and precision of their species identification with those of trained observers.