Murky-Cam: building a camera for surveying muddy sea beds

Murky-Cam: building a camera for surveying muddy sea beds

Coastal habitat restoration is a rapidly expanding field. The benefits of habitats such as seagrass and oyster beds are widely recognised as increasing biodiversity and providing ecosystem services such as improving water quality, wave dampening and carbon cycling. Locating and monitoring restoration sites is essential, but direct observation can be challenging, surveys of muddy water with poor visibility require specialist equipment and cannot be achieved remotely. Standard cameras cannot be used in these environments, but systems that place clean water between the camera and the seabed can overcome visibility issues to provide valuable imagery (e.g. . Purchasing off-the-shelf is very expensive, but the system is essentially a waterproof camera positioned above a box of clear water. Building such a system is a relatively simple engineering challenge that should be achievable in the timeframe of a 8-week project.
The student will design and build the system, based on some basic criteria. The student will source the parts (funded by the project budget), build the system at our conservation technology lab at IoZ. We will conduct an initial test of the system in the nearby canal and then perform a full test on a day trip to a field site in Essex or Kent.
This project would be suitable for an engineering student. It will involve working with tools such as a saw, hammer & drill in the construction of the camera system, potential students should be comfortable and experienced with these.

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