Unfortunately we lost the satellite internet on the Island, so we will be releasing our multi-day diary of our expedition.
The Channel Islands have been called the northern Gallapagos. The islands are home to dozens of endemic species which can be found nowhere else. In addition to unique species, many of the islands are protected by being part of the Channel Islands National Park. This restricts visitors for taking anything or disturbing nature without specific permission. Parts of the island waters are protected further by Marine Protected Areas (MPA), which are sanctuaries for the marine life. There is absolutely no fishing within MPAs, or any activity which would disturb the underwater communities. The MPA survey team is piloting the ROV both in and out of the Carrington Point MPA and assessing for the amount of fish, and the diversity among them.
The MPA survey team has had a great day running transects at Santa Rosa Island (SRI), they were able to complete 4 full 20 meter transects in both the MPA and non MPA zones. The preliminary results showed MUCH more fish in the MPA. The surveys need to be repeated and then statistically analyzed to have any real significance because the finding may have been just by chance and fish are very mobile species.
The intertidal survey team has been plagued with issues, the intertidal ROV was not fully complete upon arrival, the endcaps still needed to be potted, and unfortunately the epoxy took more than 24 hours to dry which set back the ROV portion. In the mean time, the intertidal zone was surveyed and, the markets set, along with the ROV transects from subtidal to intertidal.
Every evening all of the research teams at the SRI research station gather around the dinner table and discuss the progress with their work. We are working along with groups that are working on: island water chemistry, geo-morphology (change of landscape over time), vegetation surveys and shore line mapping. Having the gathering each night gives us an open forum in which to better methods of research and data analysis.