Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Stand up Paddle Board reccie of Marazion eel grass beds with Ocean High

I was privileged to have the opportunity yesterday to try out a totally new method of marine surveying. Laurence Smith of Ocean High, Marazion took me on a Stand Up Paddle board (SUP) exploration of the shallow lagoon to the East of the St Michael's Mount Causeway. This is a terrific method of exploring the shallow waters  and we are hoping to go back to accurately map the eel grass beds found there.
From the high vantage point of a SUP board you can see down into the water and on a clear day like this one it meant we had a fantastic view as we glided over the surface. A video camera mounted beneath Loz'z board allowed us to capture video as we traveled. A GPS was used to record the position of the outer edges of the eel grass beds in this site.

It was a fantastic survey and we now know that a SUP is a good platform for this kind of work. As the wind started to pick up and ruffle the surface of the water I got in and snorkeled and was able to ground truth our survey area. Interestingly we found what appears to be evidence of storm damage sustained by the eel grass this winter. In many areas you can see exposed rhizomes from the eel grass and a clear step is evident where sand has been removed probably taking with it eel grass plants themselves.

Damage where the sand has been removed by storms - root like rhizomes are now exposed at the edge of the remaining eel grass rhizome matt. 

Healthy eel grass Zostera marina.

Loz and the Mount 

Hairy sand weed looking like coral - Cladostephus spongiosus

Leucernaryopsis cruxmelitensis Stalked jelly fish found on Ulva lactuca sea lettuce

A SUPs eye view of the lagoon - note large rainbow wrack plants, Sargassum muticum and Bifurcaria bifurcata in foreground. 

Juvenile ballan wrasse - bright green to help them camoflague against the eel grass and sea lettuce


  1. These photos are wonderful Matt! Hope you can share more photos while floating on that sup board. SUP Red Deer

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