Part of our work here is to continue long-term monitoring of invertebrate and algal communities in the lough. On Monday we donned wetsuits, masks, and fins and literally dove into our studies.
The entire perimeter of the lough is divided into monitoring sectors.
Monitoring sectors along the south shore
We are snorkeling the perimeter in small groups to look for Codium (a green alga), Cystoseira (a brown alga), Saccharina (a kelp), Sargassum (an invasive brown alga), Echinus (a pink sea urchin), and Paracentrotus (a heavily declining purple urchin).
While we focus on these functionally and structurally important species for data collection, we also get to see an amazing diversity of other organisms.
The water in Lough Hyne is a bit chilly at around 17°C, so we will be surveying in one-hour blocks throughout the next couple weeks.
We are all very enthusiastic about being in the water and are excited to see the rest of the lough from beneath the surface!