Shark WatchMarch 7 2017
Shark Watch is an ongoing research and citizen scientist project assessing shark & ray populations in the San Francisco bay and coastline on iNaturalist. We also survey eelgrass habitat for elasmobranchs and fishes by dive survey & using the Trident ROV for applied restoration and protection.Read background
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Shark Stewards is collaborating with the National Park Service at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park to assess marine species and habitat in Aquatic Cove and develop new opportunities for youth and public education. This program will include cataloguing marine species from invertebrates to sea birds, on pilings, the municipal pier, in the cove including subtidal habitat using a Trident ROV by Open Explore.
Eelgrass beds will be mapped in the cove using the ROV along transect lines in a baseline survey. Using the mounted camera species will be recorded and identified both along the bottom and on pilings. to compile a list of marine life in the Park.
Eelgrass, Zostera marina, is a foundation species critical for the health of the Bay, sequesters carbon, and provides critical foraging, nesting and habitat for many species including the endemic nudibranch Phyllaplysia taylori. Eelgrass beds have been greatly impacted inside the San Francisco Bay. Aquatic Park provides ideal habitat for eelgrass beds and the plant has been identified visually, yet no mapping has occurred.
Viktoria Kuehn, a masters student in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of San Francisco will conduct the initial survey in the cove. This baseline survey will provide invaluable information and will be repeatable over time to determine change in the marine ecosystem.
Through subtidal survey we are surveying key eelgrass (Zostera marina) habitat in distinct areas of the San Francisco Bay, critical for many species of invertebrates, fish and marine animals. Applying data acquired by LIDAR and direct survey we will evaluate changes in densities of eelgrass densities and direct impact as a measure of benthic health and changes in Bay and ocean conditions.
A combined public outreach and education project with the National Park Service and Romberg Tiburon Center will help communicate the importance of benthic ecosystems in the Bay, and better understand elasmobranch natural history and movements inside the estuary.