Date of Award
Master of Science
College of Arts and Sciences
James L. Hayward
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 preliminarily assess habitat use. Most manatee sightings occurred in areas 2–6 m deep and characterized as mangrove soil.
West Indian manatee--Habitat, Habitat (Ecology)
McLarty, Mindy J., "West Indian Manatee (Trichechus Manatus) Habitat Characterization Using Side-Scan Sonar" (2017). Master's Theses. 98.