Natural Geography in Shore Areas

Project Description
An international collaborative effort to inventory and monitor biodiversity in the narrow inshore zone of the world's oceans at depths of less than 20 meters.

The Natural Geography In Shore Areas (NaGISA) is a collaborative effort aimed at inventorying and monitoring habitat specific biodiversity in the global near shore. The international character of the project and its target zone are reflected in the work nagisa, which is Japanese for the narrow coastal zone where the land meets the sea. NaGISA holds a unique position in the Census of Marine Life as an ambassador project, linking CoML to local interests around the world. NaGISA's first aim is to draw up an global baseline of biodiversity and then to use the network organized in that effort to continue monitoring those same shores for the next 50 years.

Methods and Technology
NaGISA used both passive and active sampling to assess quantitative/qualitative ecological/taxonomic information from the near shore zone. Employing a simple, cost-efficient and intentionally low-tech sampling protocol NaGISA will fulfill the goal of a series of well-distributed standard transects from the high intertidal zone to 20 meters water depth around the world by 2009. This is possible as the protocols are widely adaptable and have been adopted by research groups in many different countries (although new participants are always welcome!). The simple design of the protocols and unique nested hierarchy allows not only local community involvement but satisfies the technical/statistical needs of a global census.

NaGISA targets two specific habitats, rocky bottom macroalgal communities and soft bottom seagrass communities. Both complex globally occurring ecosystems that are currently far less well characterized than they should be. At each NaGISA study site, replicate samples are collected at the high, mid and low intertidal and at 1, 5 and 10m subtidal zones (15 and 20m are done whenever possible). There are two levels of target sampling -- both include measurement of surface and bottom seawater temperature and a visual classification of substrata.

* 1. Non-invasive sampling using photography and observational techniques, percent cover estimates of colonial invertebrates and rhizoidal macroalgae and counts of algal stipes and solitary fauna within quadrats.
* 2. Invasive sampling, or direct removal, consists of core samples taken within sea grass beds, and careful and complete removal of all organisms (macro and meio) from small quadrats within macroalgal sites.

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