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      Citizen science for monitoring seasonal-scale beach erosion and behaviour with aerial drones

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          Abstract

          Sandy beaches are highly dynamic systems which provide natural protection from the impact of waves to coastal communities. With coastal erosion hazards predicted to increase globally, data to inform decision making on erosion mitigation and adaptation strategies is becoming critical. However, multi-temporal topographic data over wide geographical areas is expensive and time consuming and often requires highly trained professionals. In this study we demonstrate a novel approach combining citizen science with low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles that reliably produces survey-grade morphological data able to model sediment dynamics from event to annual scales. The high-energy wave-dominated coast of south-eastern Australia, in Victoria, is used as a field laboratory to test the reliability of our protocol and develop a set of indices to study multi-scale erosional dynamics. We found that citizen scientists provide unbiased data as accurate as professional researchers. We then observed that open-ocean beaches mobilise three times as much sediment as embayed beaches and distinguished between slowed and accelerated erosional modes. The data was also able to assess the efficiency of sand nourishment for shore protection. Our citizen science protocol provides high quality monitoring capabilities, which although subject to important legislative preconditions, it is applicable in other parts of the world and transferable to other landscape systems where the understanding of sediment dynamics is critical for management of natural or anthropogenic processes.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                npucino@deakin.edu.au
                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2045-2322
                16 February 2021
                16 February 2021
                2021
                : 11
                Affiliations
                [1 ]GRID grid.1021.2, ISNI 0000 0001 0526 7079, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, , Deakin University, ; Warrnambool, Australia
                [2 ]GRID grid.1008.9, ISNI 0000 0001 2179 088X, School of Geography, , The University of Melbourne, ; Melbourne, Australia
                Article
                83477
                10.1038/s41598-021-83477-6
                7887256
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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                geomorphology, natural hazards, climate-change mitigation

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