During 2003, the Stewardship and Environmental Science Sections of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Gulf region Oceans and Science Branch collaborated in developing a monitoring program to help determine the ecological health of estuaries and coastal shorelines in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence (sGSL).
The outcome of this initiative was the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program ... (CAMP). One of the objectives of CAMP was to test the hypothesis that a relationship exists between the health of an estuary or coastal shoreline and the diversity and abundance of finfish and crustacean species which inhabit the littoral or near shore zone. Simply stated, an estuary which has been degraded by human activity may have fewer species or fewer individuals of certain species or more of other species than a healthy, undisturbed estuary. Other objectives of CAMP included the development of an outreach program for the DFO to interact with Environmental Non-Governmental Organization (ENGOs) to raise awareness of the ecology of estuaries and bays in sGSL and to acquire baseline data on abundance, diversity and coastal community assemblage for future comparisons.
Launched officially in 2004, CAMP has expanded the number of locations from 4 in its pilot year (2003), to 35 throughout the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia (NS), New Brunswick (NB) and Prince Edward Island (PEI). As a part of the expansion, the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability has become a main partner with CAMP and in the past years has hired summer students to help ENGOs conduct their CAMP sampling.
Each NGO adhered to the same sampling methodology and related protocols. Basic methodology involved monthly day-time beach-seining at 6 sites around each estuary. All species of finfish, crabs and shrimp collected were identified, enumerated, separated into young of the year and adults and then released. As well, there was coincident collection of supporting habitat information (water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, dissolved nutrient data, cover of plants and algae and substrate grain size, moisture content and organic content). DFO provides equipment, support and expertise for training and data analysis.
One of the goals of the CAMP program is to provide local environmental groups with an established and uniform set of methods that will help them better understand the ecosystem dynamics of their local estuary. The ENGO’s will be able to use the information derived from their sampling regime to help them make more informed decisions regarding their estuary.
The OBIS dataset contains a subset of the original CAMP dataset. --As part of the CAMP protocol each species is identified according to their developmental stage which are divided into 2 categories. The young of the year (YOY) are juveniles that were born in the current year and all others are categorised as adults. The OBIS dataset is based upon the total abundance for each species which was then used to determine the presence/absence for OBIS. Presence is determined from abundance data where the counts were greater than zero. The counts in the original dataset were per beach seine haul. The beach seine used in the CAMP program was always the same size (30 m long x 2 m high, with 6 mm mesh size). --The CAMP dataset also contains information on submerged aquatic vegetation - the protocol includes determination of the % cover of the 9 most common algae categories. This 'vegetation' information is not part of the OBIS dataset.
A monitoring program to help determine the ecological health of estuaries and coastal shorelines in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The following reports on the OBIS schema fields provided for in this dataset: RES_NAME, DATELASTMODIFIED, INSTITUTIONCODE, COLLECTIONCODE, SCIENTIFICNAME, CATALOGNUMBER, LATITUDE, LONGITUDE, BASISOFRECORD, KINGDOM, GENUS, SPECIES, YEARCOLLECTED, MONTHCOLLECTED, DAYCOLLECTED, PHYLUM, CLASSNAME, ORDERNAME, FAMILY, SUBGENUS, SUBSPECIES, JULIANDAY, LOCALITY, TEMPERATURE, NOTES (AphiaID: value)
Weldon, J., Garbary, D., Courtenay, S., Ritchie, W., Godin, C., Thériault, M-H., Boudreau, M. (2005), The Community Aquatic Monitoring Project (CAMP) for, Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2624, viii + 53 p., http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/319437.pdf