On the potential of surfers to monitor environmental indicators in the coastal zone
de Mora, L
Shutler, Jamie D.
Public Library of Science
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
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.</p>
Plymouth Marine Laboratory
European Space Agency
UK National Centre for Earth Observation
© 2015 Brewin et al.
This is the author's accepted version. The definitive open access article is available from PlosOne, using the DOI.
Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data collected by the surfer at Wembury beach and latitude and longitude coordinates from the GPS data have been submitted to British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC). The data are available through BODC (https://www.bodc.ac.uk/data/published_data_library/) through doi: 10.5285/120b3387-c081-75f4-e053-6c86abc0763b. SST data at station L4 are freely available through the Western Channel Observatory website (http://www.westernchannelobservatory.org.uk/) and AVHRR SST data used in the manuscript are available through requests to the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS). GPS tracks for each of the surfs are within the file S1 Data.
Vol. 10, e0127706