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Research Technical Report

A Site Characterication of the Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area Using a Towed Camera Sled

Cecchettini, A.J. (April 2008)

A Capstone Project at California State University, Monterey Bay


With the advancements of software and technology, videographic data has shown to be a valuable spatial management tool for marine protected areas (MPAs). There are numerous ways of acquiring videographic data on benthic communities, including remotely operated vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, human occupied submersibles, and towed camera sleds. This paper focuses on the use of a towed camera sled in August of 2007 to acquire videographic habitat (mud, sand, rock) and relief (high, med, low) data in the newly designated Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area (PBSMCA). A spatial distribution of the communities and the scale at which they occur found that primary habitats recorded by the towed camera sled showed no significant difference between soft and hard substrate. Hard substrate was recorded 10% more than soft substrate for the secondary classification. The average patch size of hard substrate was 19.79 (10-second viewing frames) while the soft substrate was 13.77. Comparing the two sampling rates of every ten seconds to one minute intervals yielded a significant Mann-Whitney U statistic suggesting that one minute sampling intervals are too large and contribute to a loss of data. The results of this paper are exclusive and are the only version of such data and analyses in the PBSMCA to date.