Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative founder Stephen Lyon, left, with Pacific Divers and MMR staff pictured with the marine monitoring equipment for deployment in Rarotonga. SUPPLIED/21043041
The procurement of new technology will help local conservationists monitor how warming oceans are affecting the marine environment around the globe.
International agencies Aqualink.org and View
into the Blue have donated advanced marine monitoring equipment for deployment
The Ministry of Marine Recourses and locally
based non-governmental organisation, the Pacific Islands Conservation
Initiative, have partnered to bring the equipment to Rarotonga.
The equipment is part of a global network of
data sensors being deployed to bring better understanding to the impacts of
climate change on the marine environment, says Pacific Islands Conservation
Initiative founder Stephen Lyon.
The Aqualink.org equipment consists of a
customised SOFAR wave spotter buoy anchored in location with a live sea
temperature monitoring cable. This equipment communicates wave and sea
temperature data via satellite and can be seen live on the Aqualink.org
View into the Blue have supplied two state-of-the-art
underwater cameras that will be located in the same area as the buoy.
“They will give a live view of the reef,
giving the capacity for the visual observations of reef health to be correlated
with the temperature data from the buoy,” Lyon said.
The feeds from the cameras and the data from
the buoy will be open source, meaning anyone wishing to use the data for
research is able to.
The marine monitoring equipment is located east of Avarua harbour approximately 300 metres from the reef. SUPPLIED/21043042
This system aims to give better data to
monitor and understand the impacts of climate change and particularly how warming
oceans are affecting the marine environment around the globe.
The data from the buoy will also provide a
valuable dataset to validate wave modelling being conducted as part of the
coastal vulnerability assessment for climate change.
Lyon said: “The buoy is located east of Avarua
harbour approximately 300 metres from the reef. It is marked with an orange
float that will have a flag attached. The monitoring buoy itself has an orange
flashing indictor light. “
Fishermen and other boat operators are asked
to avoid the equipment and not to tie any boat, float or craft to it.