SRAP Collaboration Reveals Seagrass Locations in the Hawkesbury 3

Within SRAP, several members are engaged in collaborative projects focused on aquatic environments. Their latest endeavour involves the utilization of unmanned underwater vehicles to assist estuary officers in locating seagrass beds.

SRAP members Ana Rubio and Eduardo Pombo Lavin.

Ana Rubio works as the Hawkesbury estuary officer, striving to map areas where seagrasses have established themselves over the past decade but are currently absent from existing seagrass maps. Seagrasses play a crucial role in the Hawkesbury’s aquatic ecosystem, as they provide stability to the estuary floor through their extensive root systems. Moreover, they serve as vital habitats for fish, crabs, and shrimp. However, mapping seagrass patches in Berowra Creek presents a challenge due to their small and mobile nature. By accurately mapping the locations of these significant habitats, long-term protection can be ensured.

Buoy with wifi transmitter that is connected to the ROV.

Ana has established collaborations with Manly Hydraulics Laboratory (MHL), where Eduardo Pombo Lavin, a Coast and Marine scientist, specializes in conducting underwater drone surveys, primarily for marine structure assessments. During discussions between Ana and Eduardo, they conceived the idea of employing Edu’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to map Ana’s seagrasses.

Edu deploying the ROV.

Edu and Ana embarked on a day-long expedition along the picturesque Berowra Creek in search of seagrasses. Edu skilfully maneuverer the ROV, which was tethered to an autonomous buoy equipped with a powerful Wi-Fi transmitter capable of transmitting signals up to a distance of 300 meters. The buoy incorporated a GPS sensor, enabling it to determine its own position as well as that of the ROV during underwater movements. Edu integrated the data collected by the ROV into GIS software to accurately reference the spatial locations of seagrasses in the area.

Seagrass found by the ROV.

Although Ana and Edu initially crossed paths through their work, they soon discovered their shared membership in SRAP. Since then, they have continued to encounter each other at various SRAP events, fostering an ongoing professional connection.

Transects undertaken by the ROV searching for seagrass patches.

Ana Rubio Zuazo

About Ana Rubio Zuazo

I have 15 years of operational and management experience in Coastal NRM with an emphasis on marine aquaculture. My research revolves around marine ecology and aquaculture, in particular in relation to the cultivation of oysters. Most of my research focuses on the Sydney Rock Oyster and the Pacific Oysters. A number of projects that I am currently involved in are included in this industry website: • Coastal Natural Resource Management projects • Monitoring and response to Harmful Algal Blooms • Designing, conducting, statistical analysis and reporting of ecological and water quality data • Design, development and implementation of environmental and aquaculture-based research projects: design of state-wide oyster monitoring programs, disease investigations; production • Aquaculture advisor • Twenty years of experience in project management of aquatic monitoring programs • Calibration, set-up and deployment of water quality instrumentation • Extensive experience in field work (remote sites, off-boat sampling, benthic sampling, water quality monitoring, SCUBA assessments) • GIS, Modelling, reporting, web-portal design, education packages

3 thoughts on “SRAP Collaboration Reveals Seagrass Locations in the Hawkesbury


    Muchisimas gracias por el Post.
    Aqui en Vanuatu comenzamos en breve un proyecto en el Area de Nugna-Pele marine conservation Area y tenemos a;gunas actividades en las que podriamos colaborar.

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