My recent visit to Santa Rosa Island was my first visit focused around my capstone project. The project I am doing with my team is centered around the ocean and marine habitats. The schools new remotely operated vehicles (ROV) are essentially drones for the ocean and will be the main tools used. I will be conducting transects and surveys of different marine habitats. I will then begin creating baseline data that can be used for future students. I will also be comparing the effectiveness of these ROVs to data sourced from researches that used different equipment or techniques in the same area. I hope to source transects done by research divers or even more expensive ROV studies.
Most of the research we will do with the new ROVs will be within 200 meters of the beach. I would still consider this to be part of the beach. We collected several videos of the benthic environment below the pier. Most of our runs were testing the ROVs capabilities for future use.
Bringing my perspective of researching and curating a project on Santa Rosa Island is a unique and special opportunity. Typically, when students from California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) visit the research station the reason and subject of their visit is led by the professor of the class.
I like to wake up before the sunrise and make coffee and then head to the beach. Sunrise with relatively low light pollution is something that should be appreciated as often as possible. Sunrises in absent of urban areas and humans in general is something I look forward too. It shifts one’s perspective on the use of the land when no one is there. Creatures of all types do not abide by the same sleep schedules as we do. Pelicans, seals, sea gulls and crows are all out before the sun is even peeking over the horizon. New kelp racks have appeared on the shores that previously were part of the kelp forest.
Once the sun is up it is my signal to get to work on my projects for the day on the island. The ROVs worked great and this project should have awesome results that will hopefully be continued long after I am gone. One thing to note is the need for a higher speed camera of better quality. I will be installing a gopro to run 4k higher frame rate videos, so I can compare the two. Excuse the somewhat blurry pictures. These are freeze frames extracted using photoshop premier.