In the mornings, you’ll rendezvous with your team for a group breakfast. Before heading into the field each day, you’ll be briefed and trained for the day’s activities. You will help researchers with:
Blue carbon budgeting of a tropical mangrove forest—and how it functions:
This survey involves establishing permanent mangrove forest plots, measuring stem diameter of trees with existing tags, noting observations of density, species composition, faunal counts and forest condition status. Participants will need to climb through mangrove forests, measuring tree heights, girths, and other parameters. There are a range of tasks from the measuring of stem diameter and tree height, laying out study plots, maintenance of plot markers, identifying mangrove plant and animal species, aging seedlings and conducting various faunal counts. If the interest is there, we would like to use the video cameras to film crabs and other ground-living invertebrates to quantify their biomass, observe their behaviour, and evaluate levels of activity. All measures taken will be compared with equivalent data collected during prior sampling dates. It perhaps goes without saying that a major task in this activity will be to collate data, input onto computers, and analyse our findings. An important specific outcome will be our calculation of carbon content of these forest plots.
Shoreline condition assessment and the health of an estuary:
Shoreline assessment involves filming the riverbank using GPS-linked video cameras from a small boat operating at 6–10 knots. The tasks for this activity include using the video camera, synchronised operation of GPS with tracking and weigh points, identifying mangrove species and the status of mangrove forest health. The latter involves learning about drivers of change and the influencing factors, like global climate change, or more direct human impacts, or natural pressures. There is a technical side to this activity where we need to maintain the equipment, recharging batteries for field equipment, as well as downloading data and processing it for our assessments. This task will also include a small number of rapid transect surveys of fringing mangrove forests for verification of parameters observed in the video imagery. Participants will need to climb through mangrove forests, measuring tree heights, girths, and other parameters.
Rapid Saltmarsh Assessment:
Participants will help contribute to the broader understanding of the Great Barrier Reef’s tropical saltmarsh habitats by completing rapid saltmarsh value and threat assessments. These assessments will be used to verify and complement assessments undertaken by local citizen-scientists and school-students in the region.
A comprehensive report of our activities:
This activity will have a number of additional tasks from computing and data management, sorting through video imagery files, assessing video data, preparing graphs and specialised artwork, and project report preparation.
In the evenings, on selected nights, you will be provided with a scientist presentation. When scientists are not presenting, participants have free time to discuss the day’s work with fellow participants as well as Earthwatch Scientists. Where possible, local community members and traditional owners will be invited to provide local perspectives on mangrove management.
Note: Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.