This summer, I worked on the Salt Marsh project under the leadership of Scott Jackson. The Salt Marsh Project is a 6+ year longitudinal study of 8 salt marshes on the coast of Massachusetts. Salt marshes are vital ecosystems that are at risk with rising sea levels and development threat. This Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Salt Marsh study seeks to understand, model and visualize the physical & biological integrity and health of salt marshes.
As the CAFE intern on this project I had the opportunity to assist with drone flights, which took images in RGB, red edge, near infrared, short-wave infrared, and LIDAR. I contributed to photogrammetry processing of these images, producing orthomosaics in multiple bands. I also helped with deployment of a 41 water logger array across three of our sites. I am currently adapting a USGS R script to glean all relevant data from the logger array to assess water presence and movement across the marsh platform.
My internship also included two kinds of transect sampling: vegetation and mussel counts. The vegetation transect sampling involved identifying cover classes of different densities of vegetation, building a robust training/testing dataset for our drone-based model to work with. The Mussel sampling involved placing 1m²٠quadrat placed along 6 transects, approximately paralleling the bank of the channel. I then counted the mussels in each quadrat and in processing, analyzed the relationship between elevation, tidal inundation and mussel counts. This internship provided me with the opportunity to learn several new field techniques, deepen my understanding of salt marshes. I deeply thank the CAFE summer scholars program and Scott Jackson for this opportunity.