On the Potential of Surfers to Monitor Environmental Indicators in the Coastal Zone

Brewin, RJW; de Mora, L; Jackson, T; Brewin, TG; Shutler, J. 2015 On the Potential of Surfers to Monitor Environmental Indicators in the Coastal Zone. PLoS ONE, 10 (7), e0127706. 22, pp. 10.1371/journal.pone.0127706

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Abstract/Summary

The social and economic benefits of the coastal zone make it one of the most treasured environments on our planet. Yet it is vulnerable to increasing anthropogenic pressure and climate change. Coastal management aims to mitigate these pressures while augmenting the socio-economic benefits the coastal region has to offer. However, coastal management is challenged by inadequate sampling of key environmental indicators, partly due to issues relating to cost of data collection. Here, we investigate the use of recreational surfers as platforms to improve sampling coverage of environmental indicators in the coastal zone. We equipped a recreational surfer, based in the south west United Kingdom (UK), with a temperature sensor and Global Positioning System (GPS) device that they used when surfing for a period of one year (85 surfing sessions). The temperature sensor was used to derive estimates of sea-surface temperature (SST), an important environmental indicator, and the GPS device used to provide sample location and to extract information on surfer performance. SST data acquired by the surfer were compared with data from an oceanographic station in the south west UK and with satellite observations. Our results demonstrate: (i) high-quality SST data can be acquired by surfers using low cost sensors; and (ii) GPS data can provide information on surfing performance that may help motivate data collection by surfers. Using recent estimates of the UK surfing population, and frequency of surfer participation, we speculate around 40 million measurements on environmental indicators per year could be acquired at the UK coastline by surfers. This quantity of data is likely to enhance coastal monitoring and aid UK coastal management. Considering surfing is a world-wide sport, our results have global implications and the approach could be expanded to other popular marine recreational activities for coastal monitoring of environmental indicators.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Data and Information
Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Oceanography
Technology
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition & Analysis Service (NEODAAS)
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > National Centre for Earth Observation
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Western Channel Observatory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: Robert Brewin
Date made live: 09 Jul 2015 14:22
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:13
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6437

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