What happens on land has a big effect on subtidal coastal reef ecosystems. When land is modified by farming, forestry and urban development, sediment from this disruption flows into the sea reducing light penetration. This results in less energy being available for primary producers such as macroalgae, in turn disrupting and altering complex marine food webs.
Matt Desmond's research comparing modified and unmodified coastal reef ecosystems aims to quantify how light affects such valuable systems with the goal of providing information which can be used to support coastal management initiatives.
The photo shows a light logger at one of Matt's research sites on Stewart Island.