BAUE Shale Island Project

August 26, 2006

Project Management - Main Tasks
Special Tools/Software Used
Project Research
Project Mapping Data
Transects and Species Count
Macro shots of the surrounding area
Links to Video and Photos
Project Participants


The objective of the Shale Island Project was to expand our group capacity to explore and document off-shore sites from a boat, while using more complex and sophisticated strategies for collecting data and documentation information.

The site we chose for this endeavor was easily accessible by charter boat, requiring only a short (10 minute) ride from the loading dock in Monterey to the target location, a half mile north of Del Monte Beach.  Shale Island is a distinct underwater plateau, whose flat top sits 6- 8 feet off of the surrounding sandy bottom of the ocean floor at a depth of approximately 60 ft.  The structure forms an oblong shape, 400 ft long and 120ft across at its widest section.

Building upon the skill base we established on our previous group project, we added a few components to our data collection process.  We implemented the use of specified quadrants for a more accurate study of fish and marine life.  We also combined a GPS tracking technique with dynamic underwater video footage taken while scootering.

Preliminary project dives on the site indicated that the structure was too large for an in-depth study of the island in its entirety to be completed as a one-day event.  Therefore, we targeted a specific area for focused study, on the west side of the plateau.

The teams followed a dive sequence created to maximize our data collection efforts.  The first team of scooter divers completed the GPS/survey-video sweep of the island before additional divers entered the water.  The next team, the ‘set-up’ divers, established the designated study area, by laying lines for use by the photo documentation and species counting teams.  Some of these divers used 3 X 3 ft quadrant markers to delineate areas of study.

In addition to the divers in the data collection target area, we devoted two teams to explore the remaining portion of the plateau.  These teams gathered GPS coordinates and took photographs of noteworthy structures or features on the site, including a giant anchor, and a few solitary metridiums who inhabit the structure.

Each team conducted two dives on the site.  One of the exploration teams used scooters for the second dive, to explore outlying areas in the vicinity of the plateau.  The final dive of the day was conducted by the set up team, whose final task was to remove all lines and traces of exploration activity.

The results of our project are presented below.  Enjoy!

Project Management - Main Tasks:

  • Selection of participants
  • Selection of a project coordinator
  • Project Research 
  • Pre-Dive Project Meetings
  • Practice sessions (pool)
  • Practice dives (boat)
  • Project Dive Day
  • Post Dive Activities
  • Project Data Reporting and Sharing of Data via Website

Special Tools/Software Used

Garmin GPS housed in a waterproof container
RIFFE float
Software (GPS sofware, Global Mapper)
Transects (Size - 3x3, two plastic lengths, 2 string lengths)

Project Research

Powerpoint presentation on the geology of Shale Island (MS PowerPoint)

Research completed by Anibal Mata-Sol - Science Director.

Project Mapping Data

GPS Track Image 1 (click on the video track camera to launch the movie)


Transects and Species Count

Team: Jason, Sandra, and Dionna

Identifying area & picture Species Clickable thumbnail
Section 1, Photo 8,9
  • Lower right 25% covered in common algae
  • Lower 30% covered in corynactis
  • 1 spiny scallop
  • 2% coverage of yellow staghorn bryzoan
  • 1 blood star
  • 1 bat star
  • 1 ring top snail
  • 1 Cadlina lueteomarginata
Section 2, Photo 10
  • 2 Cadlina lueteomarginata
  • pink and orange encrusting sponge in center of transect – 10% coverage
  • Right 30% covered in common Algea
  • Lower 50% covered in corynactis
  • Entire general area covered in clam holes
  • 1 visible geoduck clam
  • 1 coonstripe shrimp
Survey thumbnail
Section 3, Photo 13,14,15
  • Lower right 25% had most visible life
  • Pink correline algae
  • 1 Peltodoris nobilis
  • iridescent algae beside nudibranch
  • orange cup coral surrounding algae
  • orange encrusting sponge 10% coverage
survey thumbnail 
 Section 4, Photo 18, 19
  • Entire bottom 50% covered by moss animal hydroid
  • Border of entire square transect ringed by corynactis
  • Center 10% covered in pink encrusting sponge
  • 1 Doris montereyensis
  • small clump of yellow staghorn bryzoan beside nudibranch
  • top 30% covered with moss animal hydroid and yellow staghorn sponge
  • 1 piddock clam and 1 horseneck clam next to each other
Section 5, Photo 25, 26
  • Corraline sculpin
  • 10% algae coverage in lower right corner
  • 40% total yellow staghorn bryzoan
  • 5 piddock clams
  • pink encrusting sponge 5%
  • corynactus 5% coverage
  • 1 purple urchin
  • 1 blood star

Section 6, Photo 29, 30, 31
  • 1 small decorator/kelp crab
  • 30% coverage corynactus
  • 1 jewel top snail
  • 10% coverage yellow zooanthids near corynactis
  • 5% yellow sponge coverage
  • common algae in center <5% coverage
  • pink encrusting sponge <5% coverage

Photo 29, 31
Section 7, Photo 33, 34, 35
  • 1 blood star
  • 1 scalyhead sculpin
  • 10% coverage of pink correline algae
  • orange cup corals <5% coverage
  • 50% coverage common algae
**water column near transect 7 and 8**
  • 1 medium sized lingcod, column of about a dozen fish including vermilion, copper, blue and kelp rockfish
Section 8,  Photo 38
  • Generally empty with exception of clam hole filled with algae
  • 1 orange cup coral
  • small group of aggregating nipple sponges

Section 9, Photo 45, 46
  • This transaction section is where the line starts (blue weight marker)
  • 10% coverage of staghorn bryzoan
  • 50% moss animal hydroid
  • 20% corynactis

Section 1, Photo 49, 50
  • 1 orange puffball sponge
  • 1 blackeyed goby
  • 1 romquill
  • 20% common algae coverage
Photo 50

Dive 2 begins here. We did a couple of different transect areas past the start of the line and then went back to the previously counted areas.

Section 2, Photo 54, 55
  • 1 Peltodoris nobilis
  • several tribellid worms
  • 10% pink encrusting sponge
  • 5 piddock clams surrounding nudibranch
  • 20% orange encrusting sponge with corynactis growing on sponge
  • 10% staghorn bryzoan coverage

Team: Clinton and Andy

Identifying area Description Clickable Thumbnail
Line 1, Transect 3
  • White Volcano Sponge - < 5% (1 small colony :right edge, middle, on line)
  • Finger Sponge - < 5% (1 small colony :top edge, middle)
  • White Chalky Sponge - < 5% (1 small colony :top edge, middle next to 
  • Cystodytes lobatus)
  • Unknown Tube Worms - 20-30 (mostly top right corner)
  • Chaceia ovoidea - 4
  • Peltodoris nobilis - 1
  • Corynactis californica - 35%
  • Metridium senile - 10%
  • Heteropora pacifica - 5%
  • Bugula californica? - 5%
  • Pisaster giganteus - 1
  • Henricia leviuscula - 2
  • Unknown Tunicate  - < 5% (1 small colony :left edge)
  • Cystodytes lobatus? - < 5% (1 colony : top edge, middle)
  • Red Algae - 15%
  • Encrusting Coralline Algae - 5%

Various macro shots surrounding the transect area

Team: Mark and Kresimir

Description Thumbnail
Scalyhead sculpin
Artedius harringtoni
Blue Ringed Topsnail
Calliostoma annulatum
Red Octopus
Octopus rubescens
Sea Anemone and unknown crab
Corynactus californicus
Gopher Rockfish
Sebastes carnatus
Peltodoris nobilis
Tritonia festiva
unknown tunicate
Triopha catalinae

Link to all video and pictures taken, including surface pictures:

Shale Island Photos

Shale Island Video

 Project Participants:

Name Roll
Beto Nava Scooter, survey, Video, project organizer
Susan Bird Scooter, survey, project support, project organizer
Nick Radov Project support
Suzanne Baird Survey, project support
Brian Gilpin Project support
Gary Banta Scooter, project support
Anibal Mata-Sol Scooter, survey, project support, science director
Paul Lee Scooter, survey
Jason Warshawsky Photographer, project support
Sandra Tullis Project support, species count
Dionna House Photographer, species count, project support
Clinton Bauder Photographer, project organizer
Mike Jimenez Photographer
Andy Mrozek Scooter, survey, project support, surface video
Mark Lloyd Photographer, webmaster
Kresimir Mihic Project support
Jim Capwell Boat Captain
Abigail Kennedy Surface director
Eric Larsen Boat Captain