Location: Caribbean/Tropical Atlantic regions
Berths: Two researchers
Duration/timing: Flexible between January 2021 and May 2021
Necessary equipment: 5 GPS devices and floats (supplied by us), camera (or phone) to take photo of the bloom that the GPS tracker was deployed on and GPS to record the location from where it was deployed.
Project Activities Summary (aboard the vessel): The yacht can navigate around the region and identify suitable large Sargassum blooms, GPS devices will need to be switched on and deployed in the centre of large Sargassum mats. Ideally, a photograph of the selected bloom would be taken and the longitude/latitude starting point of the GPS tracker will be noted.
This project aims to use GPS trackers to track Sargassum seaweed blooms in the Tropical Atlantic with high position frequency to establish ocean transport pathways. The resultant dataset will be used to validate remote sensing data, it also has implications for early warning systems and predicting the transport patterns of blooms.
There are two scientific outcomes to this project. The first outcome is a new comprehensive dataset of hourly tracked Sargassum blooms for a minimum of 65 days from five GPS trackers. There are no published datasets of this type openly available. This dataset will be used to identify transport pathways of Sargassum in the Tropical Atlantic region, which will be the basis for a research paper. The second outcome is the use of the data for satellite imagery validation and predictions of bloom movements. Establishing transport patterns and generating predictions will facilitate community preparedness for the impacts of Sargassum blooms.
I am a PhD student at the University of Southampton, School of Geography and Environmental Science. I have a background in geographical information systems and remote sensing, as well as an interest in environmental challenges and hazard management. My skills include spatial data handling/processing and quantitative analysis. I am associated with a wider team (SARTRAC) and supervised by Professors Jadu Dash and Emma Tompkins; Jadu has a research background in pure and applied remote sensing, particularly in algorithm development, validation and spatio-temporal analysis of biophysical products from earth observation data. Emma Tompkins is a professor of Geography, Environment and Development and is the project lead for SARTRAC, which is a team of international researchers who work to identify drivers of Sargassum landings, develop monitoring approaches that are transferable across regions within the basin, and identify adaptation opportunities and challenges generated through the management and re-use of the invasive Sargassum seaweed