Four survey approaches are used plus some additional general observation work. Part of the ‘benthic survey’ work, has resulted in the Hawera High School students developing a ‘Species ID guide’.
a. An in-situ underwater camera survey, with a camera fixed to a mooring and the image data analysed. Hawera High School students will assist in entering data into NatureWatch NZ – a public database.
b. Surveys of the density of organisms living on the reef – ‘benthic survey’
c. Hook and line surveys conducted by Hawera High School students and Patea Area School students.
d. An acoustic survey using a hydrophone.
The ‘benthic survey’ involves a diver transect method, with the diver capturing images of 0.5m2 quadrats randomly situated around the reef. The random allocation of quadrats is achieved through a ‘random coordinate system’ with one coordinate corresponding to a bearing and the other coordinate corresponding to the distance along the transect line. The survey will be replicated during the year, in an effort to capture seasonal variation in the benthic community.