New method using drones to investigate beach deposits

In January, members of the SeaBee team published a scientific article describing new methods on quantification of mass and carbon content in seaweed and seagrass beach deposits using SeaBee drones and research infrastructure. The new paper by Li et al (2023) describes the new method. It is a cost-efficient method using drones and automated image analysis. 

From Kasper Hancke, the project coordinator and one of the authors: “SeaBee here provides a novel method using drones and photogrammetry to assess and quantify deposits in the beach zone” 

Three highlights from the article are: 

  • Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) provide a powerful tool for monitoring and management of beach wrack deposits.
  • UAVs perform better for wrack volume estimation than conventional manual methods.
  • Total Organic Carbon and Total Nitrogen in wrack range from 4.3-9.7 and 0.3-0.5 kg m−1 coastline, respectively.

Marine organic beach deposits (beach wrack) represent a source of mass, carbon and nitrogen. Beach wrack can be used in industrial products, and does impact recreational activities (for example, sunbathing, swimming, kayaking etc). It can provide food for coastal wildlife (lots of birds and other animals feed on these deposits). Lastly, these beach wrack deposits are important in the regulation of atmospheric CO2, which can impact climate regulation and ‘blue carbon’ budgets.  

You can read the full article in the Journal of Environmental Management here: Quantifying seaweed and seagrass beach deposits using high-resolution UAV imagery – ScienceDirect 

Graphical abstract from Li et al. (2023). It illustrates the collection of images from beach deposits, the analysis and main results from the study.