Surveying underwater vegetation

A contribution to coastal protection

Seagrass meadows and other underwater vegetation along the coast have a variety of functions. They are used for coastal protection as they absorb the energy of waves; they store CO2; they offer young fish protection from predators.

The area with water depths of 0 to 4 meters is difficult for recording measurements, as it is difficult to explore with conventional methods from research vessels due to the shallow water depth. The combination of optical and acoustic methods is ideal here.

The Center for Ocean and Society uses unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) equipped with various sensors to research these underwater habitats. In combination with acoustic, satellite and airborne data, comprehensive habitat maps from the beach to deeper sea basins are created in close cooperation with various partners and in different coastal regions.

Case Study Baltic Sea: Here, seagrass meadows are measured in the area of the Heidkate coast.

Case Study Cape Verde: In the CEM-CV project to record the ecological systems on the coasts of the African island, know-how on the use of drones for measurements is being brought in. (Financing: German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH, term until 2021)

Photo: Felix Gross

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Dr. Felix Gross