To set up a survey area a 30 meter baseline parallel to the ocean is established above the organisms in the high zone. Permanent bolts are installed at the 0m and 30m points along the baseline. Two transect lines are then laid out from the baseline towards the ocean at 0m and 30m, and a second 30m baseline is stretched out between these lines in the mid zone, creating a parallelogram. (See diagram below.)
This way both the 0m and 30m lines can shift as a unit. This enables us to adjust the grid to cover the most appropriate sampling area, avoiding any major pools or bench drop-offs. Bolts are then drilled the same distance down the 0m and 30m lines to secure the second baseline. Bolt to bolt measurements and photographs are taken to facilitate finding bolts in the future.
Transect lines are then laid out from the baseline to the ocean, parallel to the 0m and 30m lines, every three meters along the upper baseline resulting in 11 transect lines. The lower baseline is used to insure a parallel orientation between transect lines. In general the transect lines are allowed to follow the contours of the bench.