Seagrass Abundance Evalution & Analysis
   Paul Carlson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Abstract: FWC's Seagrass Integrated Mapping and Monitoring Program (SIMM) has identified more than 100 seagrass monitoring programs throughout Florida run by various universities, and city, county, state, and federal agencies.It is unclear whether the various sampling designs and seagrass abundance measures used by these programs are optimal or efficient, and the majority of abundance data collected by these programs are not being subjected to rigorous statistical analysis due to lack of knowledge regarding best practices for sampling and analyzing these data. The two objects of this project are . 1. Evaluate seagrass abundance measures, sampling designs, and statistical analysis models through the professional statistical analysis of long-term seagrass abundance data collected by FWC.2. Use the findings obtained in accomplishing the 1st Objective to develop recommendations and guidelines for statistically characterizing status and trend of seagrass abundance, and disseminate these to FWC and SIMM-participant seagrass monitoring program managers.The expected benefits A clearer and more precise understanding of status and trend in seagrass abundance will be obtained for Tampa Bay and Homossassa, Steinhatchee, and St. Mark's estuaries, allowing better-informed management decisions to be made.A better general understanding of the implications of choosing particular sampling designs and outcome measures will be obtained, contributing to best practice recommendations for sampling and analyzing seagrass abundance data.Florida seagrass monitoring program managers exposed to the findings of this project may be encouraged to eventually participate in a unified, efficiently designed statewide monitoring program, an ultimate goal of FWC's SIMM Program. will We will carry out a comprehensive statistical analysis of status and trend in seagrass abundance data collected by FWC monitoring programs for 10 years in Tampa Bay and for 3-5 years in Homossassa, Steinhatchee, and St. Mark's estuaries. Each of these areas has been sampled using both probabilistic designs (random selection of sampling sites) and fixed-transect or fixed-site designs (permanent transects/sites re-sampled each year). Outcome data include several seagrass abundance measures (Braun-Blanquet bottom cover scores, % bottom cover deciles, and shoot counts) which vary both in sampling cost and richness of information provided.This analysis will provide the opportunity to compare results and conclusions obtained by these different designs and outcome measures and to identify appropriate statistical response models for each outcome measure. We will use this comparative evaluation of statistical analysis results to develop recommendations for seagrass abundance sampling designs, statistical trend analysis models, and outcome measures, and disseminate these to SIMM participants.

Award Matching Funds Total
$91,500.00 $91,500.00 $183,000.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2009 7/1/2009 7/1/2013

Location: Statewide