Archive | May 2019

Kelp, Seasons, and the Falkland Islands

I’ve been playing around with some of the incoming classifications and thought I’d share this little map as a preview of what is possible with the data created by all of you! Click the map to launch an interactive map of the Falkland Islands! Use the menu in the top right to toggle each season on/off, and try zooming in to see individual patches!

The green patches represent the aggregates of everyone’s classifications – what you are looking at here is all of our data from the Falkland Islands.  All years are lumped together for now as there are still some gaps in the time series (we’re almost there, just 16% to go!). In other words, these patches represent maximum patch size for each season.  Another technical note: these polygons are based off a 6 user consensus, our current candidate for best accuracy. 

Giant kelp growth patterns are often dominated by seasonal processes such as storms. This can lead to an annual ebb and flow in which kelp patches grow rapidly throughout the spring and summer before dying back (or getting wiped out) in the winter.

We can see this pattern in our data too! Note how the annual minimum kelp extent occurs in the austral winter (June, July, and August), with growth beginning in the austral spring (September, October, November) and increasing throughout the summer.

One great thing about Floating Forests is that I am constantly amazed with how much we can learn even with a quick look at the data. Check out the waypoint marked “Tyssen Patch”. This is actually an undersea shoal (note the color difference on the basemap), and notice how much kelp is there!  Here is the google maps link if you want to prove it to yourself – definitely #sokelpy!

Once we get the time series data online I am very interested to see how persistent this patch has been over the years. Stay tuned!