Jellyfish and Seaweed Surveillance (JaSS)

Lead Research Organisation: Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Department Name: Plymouth Marine Lab

Abstract

Jellyfish and Seaweed Surveillance (JASS), is designed to address the acute problem of the partner (EDF energy) regarding jellyfish and seaweed debris ingress into the water intakes of coastal nuclear power plants. These events have the potential to overload the water intake systems' capacity to filter out debris potentially leading to a temporary shut-down of the affected power plant.

JaSS aims to deliver an early warning system based on two approaches. For the ingression of jellyfish we will develop a habitat model, a model that defines the type of environment conditions preferred by an organism, which can be combined with satellite monitoring to detect conditions conducive to jellyfish blooms. For seaweed ingression we will make use of novel, high resolution satellite products (Sentinel program) to detect and track clouds of seaweed detritus in the water surrounding the power plant.

The outputs will be used by EDF energy to monitor the water and put preventive measures in place when the risk of marine debris ingress is high. This will reduce the need to shut-down a power plant, saving the company money and ensuring stable energy delivery across the UK power grid. It also has potential to be applied to other sectors of industry that are at risk from these kinds of events such as offshore energy, tourism, and desalination.

Planned Impact

JaSS outputs will be used across EDF Energy's fleet of UK coastal nuclear power stations, to predict severe ingress events. Each station operates its own daily risk analysis for marine ingress, but currently there are no accurate tools to inform this process. In most cases the first indication that a station has a severe ingress event is when cooling water supply is suddenly and severely constrained.

The new outputs, provided by this project, will greatly increase the confidence of the daily risk analysis, thereby allowing a range of proactive and/or precautionary actions and decisions which are not currently possible. For example, a proactive reduction in reactor load will correspondingly reduce cooling water demand, allowing the cooling water intake system to deal effectively with a reduced marine ingress burden (of jellyfish or seaweed). Other such actions include assigning additional staff and resources to be ready to deal with the predicted ingress.

In this way, the improved risk analysis will potentially lead to significantly reduced losses in electricity generation, to the National Grid, and significant financial benefits to EDF Energy. Ultimately, the new technology could be applied to a range of different operators and industries around the globe, as the marine ingress problem (particularly jellyfish blooms) is predicted to be exacerbated with global change.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description We found it is possible to predict occurrence of jellyfish bloom and the intensity within a certain band, this form the basis for an early warning system.
Additionally, while seaweed ingress can not be monitored while they happen (due to it being during storm event) large aggregation of floating seaweed (or other marine debris) can be detected and tracked at other time of the year.
Exploitation Route The Jellyfish bloom prediction could be used by a number of coastal services (e.g water intake like the project partner), aquaculture farms (salmon, shellfish), or recreational activities that would be impacted by presence of a jellyfish bloom.
Detection and monitoring of seaweed in coastal water could have application for algae farm, or environmental monitoring regarding coastal ecosystems health.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

 
Description Findings and associated impacts are still being developed, but we are in discussion with the project partner in regard to how they could efficiently use our finding to improve their operation in regard to marine ingress events.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Energy
 
Title Detection of Macroalgae in Setinel-2 Satellite Imagery using Floating Vegetation Indices 
Description Using the pigment chlorophyll-a, live (photosynthesising) green plants absorb wavelengths from incoming solar radiation in the 400-700 nm range. This photosynthetically active region is approximately equivalent to the visible range of light within the electromagnetic spectrum (Fig. 6). NIR is outside of this spectral range, and tends to be mostly scattered and reflected off healthy green leaves. Thus, photosynthesising healthy green plants appear dark in the photosynthetically active range (high absorption, low reflection) and bright in the NIR (low absorption, high reflection). The most common of the plant health indices is the dual band Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) algorithm, which is obtained by measuring ratios of reflected visible light (usually red) to reflected NIR. Applications of NDVI in the marine environment are less developed in comparison, but the ratio between the NIR and red bands can compensate for changing light conditions and viewing angle. For this application, NDVI can be considered somewhat of a misnomer because scattering is the first feature of detection, but the ratio between the NIR and red bands does hold (Barillé et al., 2011 [5]; Van der Wal et al., 2008 [6]). Macroalgae detection algorithms tested in this study started with a simple dual-band Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) algorithm, obtained from the NIR and red bands: NDVI = (NIR - RED) / (NIR + RED) (1) Resulting NDVI numbers can range from -1 (no photosynthesis) to 1 (healthy actively photosynthesising plants; highest possible density). There are alternatives or variations of the NDVI algorithm, adapted for marine applications. They show varying degrees of success. Water adjusted vegetation index (WAVI) algorithm, where L = 0.5 for Sentinel-2 (Zou et al., 2018 [7]): WAVI = (1 + L) ((NIR - BLUE) / (NIR + BLUE + L)) (2) Normalised difference aquatic vegetation index (NDAVI): NDAVI = (NIR - BLUE) / (NIR + BLUE) (3) 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The NDVI algorithm proved suitable for detecting aggregated floating objects in UK waters around the EDF Torness site. The role of storms in dispersing floating materials is not known, but high waves and gusting winds are more likely to break apart patches of materials. This makes detection by satellite more challenging, especially over winter when cloudy skies and choppy seas with whitecaps are more prevalent, and light is more diffuse. Based on successful detections of aggregated floating materials on calm seas around the EDF Torness site in spring, we suggest that the environmental conditions (high winds, choppy seas and overcast skies) associated with ingress of macroalgae are the primary complicating factor for detecting floating marine plants immediately before or after an event. 
 
Title Jellyfish habitat model 
Description Model of jellyfish habitat showing likelihood of a jellyfish bloom based on environmental conditions 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Potential for developing a warning system regarding occurrence of jellyfish bloom. 
 
Description ICES ASC - presentation of jellyfish habitat modelling work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The presentation was made to an audience interested in jellyfish blooms. Afterward interest was in sharing the result/method with ICES expert group on zooplankton at their next annual meeting, and exchange knowledge and data.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Interview for article on jellyfish modellign and how it can be used to detect them 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The interview was about the work accomplished and its uses. Afterwards there where increased interest along with request of collaborations, and further outreach opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://geographical.co.uk/nature/oceans/item/3374-rise-of-the-jellies
 
Description Invited Webinar for EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Delivered a Webinar presenting the planned science for JaSS
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Marine Challenger Meeting - scientific talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I presented two talks at the Marine Challenger meeting. First, to the Ocean Remote Sensing special interest group composed primarily of senior scientists, and second to a mixed group of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Around 20 people attended the first talk and between 20-50 attended the second. The second group asked the most questions, with interest in how we were able to detect photosynthesizing (live) plant material (macro-algae) on and near the ocean surface.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation in EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) Cooling Water Intake Operation, Maintenance & Optimization Interest Group annual meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Attendees showed an interest in the presented work and how it could be used/applied as an early warning system of jellyfish bloom occurrence nearby their water intake and infrastructure.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Visit to EDF Barnwood Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting at EDF Barnwood research center to share the preliminary results from the project with the EDF R&D team
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018