In this update, Philippe and Maël are validating the algal mat spatial detection toolkit. From their base in ARGANS France, they are gathering data from key partners to ground truth and validate the images from the algal mats satellite detection.
The interest in this piece is growing from national regulatory groups as well as from academia, research, industry, citizen scientist, or the naturally curious.
Mapping algal mat coverage can tell us the extend of intertidal habitats impacted by eutrophication and the management measures that should be considered for achieving good ecological status (GES) of these transitional and coastal areas.
Healthy coastal and transitional areas support a good balance of ecosystems that includes certain macro algae, seagrass, saltmarshes, and shellfish that functionally removes nutrients (nitrates, phosphates, etc.) and capture carbon to mitigate adverse climate changes.
Knowing or predicting the locations of excessive algal mat coverage, and what extend or conditions it is in, will help management groups to identify priority areas for restoration or additional strategic protection.
Across southern England and northern France, colleagues are working to detect and map algal mat coverage as well as to model the hydrodynamic processes that are supporting these ecosystems. Ground truthing by using field surveys, drone data and drop cameras has been promising. Together these will speed up the process of creating accurate maps.
This work is creating answers that will support our government’s actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by the same date. In the longer term, nutrient remediation as well as protecting and restoring the ecosystems of transitional and coastal areas so that they can deliver benefits for people, nature, and the climate.
The maps will provide an important evidence baseline for years to come.