Citizen Science Portal
Can you help the Convex Seascape Survey find the last remaining, intact, undisturbed soft-bottom seabed habitats on the world’s continental shelves?
The Convex Seascape Survey is a pioneering collaboration of world-leading experts working to quantify and understand blue carbon stored in the coastal ocean floor. We will deliver new, reliable, open-source data which will educate, inspire, and enable informed decisions on ocean use, to harness the power of the sea in the fight against climate change. But before our team begins their research, we need help finding healthy, unimpacted, soft sediment ecosystems to study.
The ability of blue carbon ecosystems like mangroves, seagrass meadows and kelp forests to store carbon has long attracted attention. But such places only cover 0.2% of the seafloor. This means that while their role in mitigating climate change is important, it is limited. By contrast, the soft sediments found on the seafloor contain fair bigger carbon stores and cover 38 times more space. Therefore, they are exceptionally important in this era of rapid climate change.
We are looking for divers with intimate knowledge of the seafloor to help us identify important places to study. To help us in the fight against climate change, simply follow the steps below, and send us underwater photographs or video footage of what you believe to be a healthy, intact, and undisturbed soft sediment seabed habitat.
Follow these steps on how to participate in our exciting project!
How do you identify a healthy, undisturbed, soft sediment seabed habitat?
A soft sediment seabed consists of fine sediment. It is essentially a sandy or muddy seabed habitat. Healthy, undisturbed soft sediment seabed habitats often:
- Have a high abundance of plants or animals. In sandy and muddy habitats, this may not always be as obvious as a bright coral reef. Look out for delicate species such as sponges, brittle stars, starfish, sea squirts, sea cucumbers, and bivalves.
- Support many different types of plants and animals.
- Are located within:
- the boundaries of an area with conservation measures such as a marine reserve or protected area.
- exclusion zones around oil and gas rigs.
- areas reserved for military exercises.
- areas that fishing boats might avoid, such as, around shipwrecks.
Avoid areas that:
- Are close to ports, harbours, or shipping channels.
- Show evidence of pollution contamination. This may be in the form of plastic pollution, oil spillage, sewage input, or boat traffic.
- Show evidence of destructive fishing activities. Trawled or dredged habitats can be recognised by tracks left embedded in the sediment. These are often visible in the form of patches and ridges.
- Are adjacent to busy and heavily populated towns or cities.
If you already have underwater photographs or videos of what you believe is a healthy, intact, sandy or muddy seabed habitat, upload them to the form on this page.
We accept any method used to collect underwater photographs or video footage. Including photographs or video footage from:
- Diver operated videos (DOVs) including underwater cameras such as GoPros
- Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs)
- Remote underwater videos (RUVs)
- Towed Video Systems (TOWVs)
If you know where these places might be but do not have any underwater photographs or video footage, simply take your underwater camera with you on your next dive to your chosen location. Once you have collected you underwater photographs or video footage, visit the Citizen Science portal on the Convex Seascape Survey website to upload your underwater data. Remember to include the date and precise location (dive site, region, and country/province).
Alternatively, you can email us at A.Kemp4@exeter.ac.uk with the date, precise location, and some additional information about why your chosen area is healthy, intact, sandy, or muddy seabed habitat.
There are no wrong submissions so if you are unsure of the seabed health, send us your photos or videos anyway! Every submission counts towards our important project.