Project goal: Develop a database for data organization of observations of Coastal Ecosystem
These are the early results of a trial project for data collection by citizen scientists using a custom designed cell phone application. Look for part one of this series of postings at Costal Wetlands Part 1.
The feature image is a typical seascape of our beautiful western shore coast line of South West Florida (SWFL).
Project description and outcomes:
Sand is the foundation of our civilization. It is the most heavily mined material on Earth. This Investigation of the Costal Systems of SWFL is based on this foundational material. The null hypothesis was to refute the idea that all local beach sands were identical. The goal was two-fold. The first goal was to develop an app for data collection which would take the data from observations and submit them to a cloud-based database for later evaluation. The second goal was to use the beach sand to act as a unifying substrate upon which adjacent observations could be related. The objective was to allow investigation and comparison between and among sample locations and to a standard model. The method used included an interested but untrained group of citizen scientists to observe, collect, test, and record the beach sand and adjacent materials and its contents in a wide variety of locations. A custom designed cell phone app was made and downloaded by 5 participants. Sample bags were distributed. Observers worked at sites along 80 miles of SWFL shoreline of their own choice. All samples were examined microscopically. 16,800 data points including images were collected. Data in the relational database was sorted and correlated in IOS Numbers spread sheet. Assessment of the samples revealed a significant diversity of the beach sands. The null hypothesis was refuted. The novice team behaved in a coherent, cohesive fashion. The software was comprehensive, self-explanatory and reproducible. The data has been published and is freely available on the World Wide Web through Epicpollect5 . Analysis was easy and diverse in capability. Accomplishments: Teamwork was effective, software was the cohesive agent, early conclusions are evidence-based Analysis of information can lead to confident understanding and could lead to thoughtful decisions about SWFL costal ecosystems.
These are early reports of preliminary findings:
Area of SW Florida. 40 colored dots are observation locations
Plastic package with sand sample. Label shows observation number. Photograph shows pack placed over actual size image for scale.
These images are copied from the database and show a typical costal observation point.
Wide view of beach
Close proximity to beach
One meter square observation area
Photomicrographs show images of observation samples viewed with 5x magnification.
Dark field direct illumination
Transilluminated polarized light
Sand sample stored in plastic bag. Label number attached. Photographed against background scale. Photographed. Portion of sample examined microscopically. Sample filed.
The Costal shore was examined grossly with findings and comments gathered by the application then uploaded to the database. The gross examination was gathered visually and tactilely from he beach. Additionally, near adjacent findings were recorded such as larger objects, proximity to landmarks, level and proximity to the shore, vital or devital, time and date, identity of plants and animals and any other significant details. All of these details were captured photographically and by sampling.
Details and data from the observations are available at the site epicollect5 . The site provides maps, data files and graphic files.
The data was filtered and statistically summed and averaged using MS Excel spread sheet. Correlations were not made because there is relatively little data.
Here are some of the findings. Please understand that the sample size is small. Reported results are not definitive.
- Observations were made in daylight hours
- Tides were generally rising on all observations
- 95% of the costal areas were sandy beaches
- 30% of the beaches were remediated with imported sand after storm Ian
- 5% was the average beach profile
- Life forms were concentrated along the water line and dune/upland areas
Close examination (Typical)
- Sand particle size was ❤ mm
- All beaches had 30% to 100% quartz
- Most beach sand was an aggregate of quartz and shell or reef fragments
- No other mineral was found
- Plastics and salts were not identified
Microscopic sand sample composition findings summarized from excel assessment from 33/40 completed data files reported from 40 observations
|Texture, Fineness||10/33 Fine and Medium fine|
13/33 Medium Coarse and Coarse
|50% Fine, 50% coarse|
|Homogeneity||20/33 Well and Very Well|
|Most are Highly Homogeneous|
|Particle shape||7/33 Well rounded and Rounded|
23/33 Some what Round to Angular
|All showed roundedness|
9/33 Quartz and Shell
|High fraction of Quartz and Shell|
|Ratio of Quartz to Other||11/33 80 to 100%|
9/33 60 to 680%
|All sand had moderate to high fraction to quartz|
|Quartz particle size||11/33 0.5 to 1,0 mm |
7/33 0.35 to 2.0 mm
|Quartz particles had a high variance in 0.25 to 2.0 mm range|
|Other particle size||11/33 2 to 6|
8/33 0.75 to 2
|Non Quartz had High variance in the 0.75 to 6.0 mm|
SWFL Costal Ecosystems are based on sand. The SWFL sand is really complex with many things still to be discovered. Plastic micro particles need further exploration, minerals from shore-side water trapped in sand should be better defined, costal areas with silt overlay has not yet been discussed. The mollusks and birds of this system have been observed and need to be further explored. The data collection and database application trial was successful in data capture and facilitation of the data analysis using spread sheet software technology.
Be sure to click here to see the database on the Epicollect5 web site
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#sand #observation #texture #homogeneity #particle shape #source #size #ratio 3photomicrographs #microscope #costal ecosystem #database
Very interesting project! We must learn so much more about the coastal environment