Elbow Beach, Bermuda
Ted Gosling is monitoring the reef along Elbow Beach in Bermuda, and he’s using the Aqualink system as a tool for his monitoring efforts. Ted is an excellent example of how you can use the Aqualink system to its best capacity.
Bermuda and Ted
In Elbow Beach, Bermuda lies a beautiful coral reef underneath the surface. Bermuda's reefs are quite unique, as they are one of the most northerly coral reef systems, mainly due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream. It's within these waters that Ted's passion for the ocean started, and he's today monitoring this reef in collaboration with Aqualink. Ted has two Aqualink buoys and uses the Aqualink dashboard to monitor his reef. The data from the buoy and satellites gives him valuable insights into what the conditions are, and he complements this with surveys where he can monitor the corals' conditions.
Surveys and Monitoring
Ted is doing an excellent job monitoring this reef by surveying the corals frequently, especially this summer when the data from the satellite and buoy recorded temperatures well over the bleaching threshold with a max seasurface temperature of 29.9 ℃ and max seafloor temperature of 29.5 ℃ (10 meters depth). The bleaching threshold for this reef is 28.4 ℃, and the temperature stayed consistently above the bleaching threshold for almost one and a half months between August and September. In September came hurricane Ian who, luckily, missed this reef but brought with it cooler water which cooled down the reef to more comfortable temperatures. As you can see in the last two surveys above, the coral is slowly recovering from bleaching, and the big dip in the graph is caused by hurricane Ian which drastically cooled down the reef. The survey taken on September 27th displays how badly the corals were bleached during this period, and the survey taken right when the heatwave started on August 2nd displays the coral being fully healthy before the heatwave.
The Aqualink dashboard allows you to upload surveys for your site where you can separate all survey points within the survey. The survey describes the time, date, and conditions for that day, and the survey point includes images and comments about the corals' health in that specific spot. Ted, for example, has many survey points on his two survey sites, and each survey point is a specific point where he can survey one or multiple corals. In the example above, we have filtered Ted’s surveys by the survey point from the bottom of one of his Aqualink buoys. This way, we can visually see the changes in this specific coral’s health while also being able to read the comments made from each survey occasion.
"From what I have seen and used, the dashboard is well designed and has been very useful for looking back at the temperature trends in conjunction with the videos/pics, as it was designed to do."
Who Is Ted?
Ted was born in 1964 and grew up in and around the ocean surrounding Bermuda for most of his life. He always enjoyed swimming in it, diving under it, and sailing over it so much that he decided at an early age to forgo eating any kind of seafood as his contribution to not damage or take anything away from the ocean.
Ted's first effort in ocean science was at the beginning of 2014 when he first learned about the invasion of lionfish in the Bermuda waters and became motivated to find a way to protect Bermuda's marine environment from them. He concluded that an effective custom-built trap that caught only lionfish with little or no by-catch would be the best solution and started to test some innovative trap design concepts. Bermuda banned the use of fish pots in 1990 due to their indiscriminate killing of by-catch, so it was imperative that any new designs were not going against that mandate.
He learned a lot from his trap design and test efforts but hasn't had success catching any lionfish, even after using GoPros to try and record what was happening with the lures and bait he was using. The upside is that few fish were seen in it, over the years, but it was never confirmed if they could have escaped on their own. After concluding that GoPros were not adequate for the task of continuous monitoring, he started looking for self-cleaning underwater camera systems and discovered View into the Blue in 2016. Since then, he has been trying to get one of their camera systems to Bermuda for this research effort and has now purchased one that will live stream from the coral reef and help understand how effective the Lionfish trap is. This project is called WELT (Webcam for Experimental Lionfish Trap), but Ted got inspired by the idea that this project could be more than just WELT. He introduced Bermuda College to the potential for doing all kinds of new, innovative research using the new technology that View Into The Blue and Aqualink have brought to the table.
Ted conducts his surveys in the most fun way possible by free diving with his TUSA SAV 7. He uses a GoPro to record videos along the reef from shallow depths to 60 feet and then takes screenshots of the videos for each survey point. Ted has uploaded all of his videos to his YouTube channel, which we highly recommend watching. These are a great way to see his entire survey area and how he conducts his surveys. It’s also a fun way to explore the ocean with Ted! Ted is now aiming to bring more attention to the efforts of Aqualink and show a larger audience what is going on beneath our waves with his videos.
Advancement in monitoring the reef
Ted has advanced his monitoring in a few ways by extending the range of the two survey sites and taking more repeated pictures of the same corals to see how the health of the reef progresses over time.