The Light and Motion Sensor Program: Low cost coral reef monitoring

Proceedings of the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 7-11 July 2008

Session number 16

Effective coral reef management requires early identifications of potential sources of contaminants before significant degradation of the reefs occur, allowing stakeholders, politicians, businesses and concerned citizens to have sufficient information with which to take appropriate, timely remedial action. The Rainbow Sensor program can provide a reliable, continuous, low-cost measurement of the organic content of seawater, needed by managers in economically important marine protected areas to monitor basic water quality information near significant human development. Increases in organic content can come from the addition of nutrients and hence algae growth or dissolved and particulate organic contaminants from land. The Rainbow Sensor uses spectral optical attenuation of light through the water column to detect the presence of shore based, human generated contamination. The first implementation of the moored Rainbow Sensor, the Light and Motion Sensor Program (LMSP) on Bonaire has, in its first year, shown that it can detect organic matter in the water column. The low cost (< US $1500) of each Rainbow Sensor mooring brings the capability of continuous, long-term measurement of the organic content of seawater to many agencies that do not have the budget for more expensive traditional monitoring systems.

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