On YouTube: SBU Researchers Evaluate How Coastal Marine Habitats Are Classified
Research - News

Stony Brook, NY, May 3, 2013 - In a two-year New York Sea Grant-funded research project that wrapped up earlier this year, a team led by Stony Brook University (SBU) School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) investigators Dr. Robert Cerrato and Dr. Roger Flood provided insights about benthic habitats. Study findings will be used to increase the accuracy, efficiency, and cost effectiveness of management efforts that address issues such as fisheries management, the identification of critical habitats, habitat restoration, preservation of biodiversity, and the establishment of marine protected areas.

The research team – which includes Sea Grant scholar and SBU SoMAS graduate student Alison Flanagan – assembled a number of extensive benthic data sets in the Hudson River, Jamaica Bay, several embayments on the north shore of Long Island, and the Peconic Bays Ecosystem. This work has been funded by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Suffolk County, Peconic Estuary Program, The Nature Conservancy, the Long Island Sound Study, and the National Park Service.  

“The information this research provides will lead to more informed decision-making with respect to our coastal resources by policy makers and managers,” says Cerrato. The work also offers an opportunity to produce some unique products, such as detailed images of benthic habitats and related biotic data for public education.

As a follow-up to field work done at several sites between February and November 2011, the research team deployed additional underwater video cameras in spring 2012 at three more sampling stations and also collected and later analyzed sediment data using a penetrometer as well as water column data. “Since our study sites represent a diverse assemblage of marine, estuarine, and freshwater habitats, our results will be generally applicable to other areas,” adds Flood.

For more on the individual underwater habitats explored in the study, see the video clips below, which were provided along with some 'in the field' notes by Flanagan:

Typical bottom recording from New York’s Hudson River. This video captures unidentified organisms manipulating the sediment surface (towards the middle-upper right of the recording). The video frame size is 13.5 cm x 23.5 cm.

An example of a mud-bottom environment in Huntington Harbor, located on the north shore of Long Island, NY. There are at least 20 sand shrimp (Crago septemspinosus) present in this recording. This video captured a 17.5 cm x 30 cm area of the seafloor.

Typical video recording from Jamaica Bay, located on the southern side of Long Island, NY near the island's western end. of mussel beds (Mytilus edulis). This video represents a 17.5 cm x 30 cm area of the seafloor.

An example of a sandy mud-bottom typically observed off Robins Island, an undeveloped island in Peconic Bay by the eastern end of Long Island, NY. This recording captured an unidentified crab, which frantically burrowed into the sediment as soon as the camera landed. This recording captured a 17.5 cm x 30 cm area of the seafloor.

An example of a pebble and seaweed bottom off Shelter Island, an island at the eastern end of Long Island, NY. This video represents a 17.5 cm x 30 cm area of the seafloor.

More Info:

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, and Currents, its e-newsletter supplement, each distributed 3-4 times a year.

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