Seagrass meadows are vital in the fight against climate change as they store 10% of the ocean's carbon each year whilst only covering 0.1% of the seafloor. Seagrass is dying at a rate of 7% per year due to rising ocean temperatures, disease, and agricultural runoff. Seagrass needs to be mapped and monitored by citizen scientists to facilitate continuous benchmarking and effective conservation. The current mapping process is completed by the few available citizen scientists by swimming around the area of a seagrass meadow and marking the location using GPS. This process is highly labour-intensive, leaving some citizen scientists to map the coverage of large seagrass meadows alone, which could take weeks.
The solution to this problem is Zostera. Zostera is a drone that removes labour intensity from the current mapping process by having remote and autonomous functionality. Zostera captures geo-referenced images of the seabed below as it moves across the coast, allowing for a significant increase in efficiency compared to the present mapping method. Finally, Zostera is made from 100% recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), the most common waste plastic found in the ocean.