Ecological Monitoring & Assessment

Habitat Mapping

VE has at its disposal a range of equipment and approaches in order to undertake habitat surveys of aquatic and coastal environments. Sophisticated methodologies have been developed to characterise dominant seagrass, algal, coral and sessile macroinvertebrate communities, investigate coral and substrate cover and condition, and characterise mangrove and intertidal communities. High resolution maps can be generated using satellite imagery coupled with field data by utilising Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing techniques.

Dive Surveys

Our ADAS 1R (commercial/scientific) certified Dive Officer oversees our experienced dive team, who have obtained a minimum of PADI Rescue certification in addition to scientific diving qualifications. The team have undertaken a number of coral habitat surveys by establishing transects and using video and still imagery to classify communities and health, which are then
used for GIS/mapping purposes.

Camera Sled Tows

Broad-scale benthic habitats can be investigated and mapped using VE sled tow video transects and drop down camera techniques. VE owns sophisticated underwater photographic equipment, which when coupled with appropriate software can generate high quality imagery and data suitable for GIS/mapping purposes.

Fish Surveys

Fish and other nekton communities can be investigated using a number of different strategies in order to assess different aquatic habitats. Sampling strategies can include a series of netting techniques (cast nets, seine nets, gill nets), diver surveys and Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVS). VE owns a number of BRUVs which are paired with calibrated stereoscopic video cameras. Footage from the paired cameras can be analysed using specific software in order to determine nekton and sessile organism relative communities and population dynamics. Moreover, the software enables streamline rapid analyses.

Macroinvertebrates

Often undertaken concurrently with sediment sampling, macroinvertebrate communities have been used in many studies as potential biological indicators of environmental change. VE has experience in collecting, sorting and identifying benthic samples to the lowest taxonomic level, in addition to applying the appropriate statistical analyses. Macroinvertebrate biodiversity indices, including abundance, species richness, diversity, evenness and community composition, are used to assess potential environmental impacts.