Presentation Title

West Indian Manatee (Trichechus Manatus) Habitat Characterization Using Side-Scan Sonar

Presenter Status

Graduate Student, Department of Biology

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Session

D

Location

Chan Shun 108

Start Date

19-5-2017 2:45 PM

End Date

19-5-2017 3:05 PM

Presentation Abstract

In this study, the reliability of low-cost side-scan sonar to accurately identify soft substrates such as grass and mud was tested. Benthic substrates can be hard to classify from the surface, necessitating an alternative survey approach. A total area of 11.5 km2 was surveyed with the sonar in a large, brackish mangrove lagoon system. Individual points were ground-truthed for comparison with the sonar recordings to provide a measure of accuracy. Five substrate types were identified: Dense seagrass, sparse seagrass, mangrove soil, mangrove soil with rock, and silt. A zoned benthic substrate map was created from the sonar recordings. Dense seagrass was most accurately identified. Sparse seagrass had the lowest accuracy. A bathymetric map was also created from the sonar recordings. Manatee sighting locations were overlaid on these maps to make a preliminary assessment of habitat use. Most manatee sightings occurred in areas 2–6 meters deep and characterized as mangrove soil.

Biographical Sketch

I have just completed my MS degree in biology at Andrews University. My research areas of interest include ecology, marine biology, and wildlife biology.

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May 19th, 2:45 PM May 19th, 3:05 PM

West Indian Manatee (Trichechus Manatus) Habitat Characterization Using Side-Scan Sonar

Chan Shun 108

In this study, the reliability of low-cost side-scan sonar to accurately identify soft substrates such as grass and mud was tested. Benthic substrates can be hard to classify from the surface, necessitating an alternative survey approach. A total area of 11.5 km2 was surveyed with the sonar in a large, brackish mangrove lagoon system. Individual points were ground-truthed for comparison with the sonar recordings to provide a measure of accuracy. Five substrate types were identified: Dense seagrass, sparse seagrass, mangrove soil, mangrove soil with rock, and silt. A zoned benthic substrate map was created from the sonar recordings. Dense seagrass was most accurately identified. Sparse seagrass had the lowest accuracy. A bathymetric map was also created from the sonar recordings. Manatee sighting locations were overlaid on these maps to make a preliminary assessment of habitat use. Most manatee sightings occurred in areas 2–6 meters deep and characterized as mangrove soil.