International Research Project between Taiwan and Australia --
"How to Map Sesagrass and Measure Its Health by Capturing The Colours of The Rainbow Underwater"
Project Title: Premier's Research Industry Fund project -- "Advanced Sensors for Water Quality Management"
Project Dates: 2013 - May 2016
NCKU is involved in an exciting international high-technology collaborative environmental research project between Taiwan and Australia and to test and develop underwater, airborne and satellite optical technology to map the seagrass and coastal reef community in parts of the marine coast of Gulf St Vincent near Adelaide in South Australia.
Thr project has been running for 3 years and is a partnership between the National Cheng Kung University, the Australian Water Quality Centre and the Instrument Technology Research Centre, NARLabs.
The project is producing some very exciting results and has been testing what are referred to as "remote monitoring" or "remote sensing" technologies for their application in water quality monitoring and to introduce these techniques to South Australian government agencies who carry out environmental assessment on the health of the marine ecosystem in the coastal areas near the city of Adelaide.
There are more than 9,500km² of seagrass along coastline in South Australia, which provide an essential and fantastic habitat to a wide range of marine species such as fish, crabs and sea urchins. The seagrass is also important to stabilise the seabed to prevent erosion and sand movement. However, the Adelaide metropolitan coast has lost in excess of 50 km² of seagrasses over the past 80 years, and seagrass distribution is mapped every 5 years by the the state government agencies in South Australia to assess how this is changing and to work on the best approaches for the management of land-based discharges of wastewater and stormwater which affect the seagrasses. This mapping is traditionally recorded using aerial photography,which has been costly and also suffers from the problems associated with image acquisition from air, such as glare at the water surface, compromised signal in deep waters and seafloor interference in shallow waters.
The partners in this project are:
National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) is a long-standing collaborator and research partner with SA Water. NCKU is a close partner and is working together with the ITRC who have internationally-recognised expertise in the development and application of innovative optical monitoring sensors (http://www.itrc.narl.org.tw/Research/Remote-e/index-e.php). The Australian Water Quality Centre (AWQC) and NCKU collaboration, in particular with the Department of Environmental Engineering, goes back to 2004 and includes many major joint projects and exchange visits.
What we have done so far:
What we plan to do next:
The novel aspect of this work is the use of an underwater sensor towed behind a boat that can generate a 'spectral' map and be correlated to the above surface sensors carried by aircraft and satellites to build large scale maps for more efficient monitoring. The use of optical digital remote monitoring using an "eye-in-the-sky" is one of the genuine future technology opportunities for future environmental condition assessment and is a great opportunity for for the partnership between Taiwan and Australia.
Courtesy of National Cheng Kung University and Australian Water Quality Centre at SA Water