March 30, 2023

March 2023 | By Ximena Velez-Zuazo 

Dr. Ximena Velez-Zuazo is the managing director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Sustainability office in Peru. She is also the director for the MarineGEO Central Coast Peru Observatory.

The Central Coast, Peru site was active during 2022, starting with the successful deployment and retrieval of MarineGEO’s SED-BIOME experiment, which seeks to understand how nutrient pollution change microbial communities and carbon storage in marine sediments at Playa Atenas in the bay of Paracas.

sediment traps

Sediment traps in the bay after deployment.

submerged quadrat

An example tag of a submerged quadrat.

We also deployed a pilot test of the PANELS experiment, a central MarineGEO experiment that can be implemented in any aquatic habitat. PANELS aims to track and understand changes in the marine animals and seaweeds that colonize the seabed and artificial structures. The experiment was deployed during our latest field expedition, with plans to launch the full experiment in January 2023. 

panel pre-deployment

A panel ready to be lowered into the water.

panels getting deployed

Deploying a panel into the water.

We also deployed an array of environmental sensors at our site. These include the water temperature loggers used across the MarineGEO network, and acoustic recorders and receivers to detect the presence of dolphins and porpoises and for recording the movement of threatened species of sharks and rays.