Sea Technology

OCT 2012

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Benthic Habitat Mapping Using High-Resolution Image Mosaicking Solving the Problem of Counting Species Multiple Times By Using a New Image Mosaicking Algorithm By Hamed Bagheri Graduate Student Engineering and Applied Science and Vincent Lecours Ph.D. Student Department of Geography Memorial University of Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada B enthic ecosystems of most continental shelves, slopes and seamounts are al- tered by the use of bottom-contact fishing gears and other human activities, such as hydrocarbon drilling and seabed mining. Such activities can impact the structure and function of benthic habitats directly and in- directly. For example, physical disturbances of the seabed can produce changes in local water flow and sedimentation patterns, which are important for suspension feeders like cold-water corals and sponges. Partial or complete destruction of benthic habitats can reduce the number of species, their abundance, richness and diversity. In recent decades, efforts have been made to study these remote en- vironments. Mapping seafloor habi- tats based on species' environmen- tal preferences is often the first step when implementing scientific man- agement, monitoring environmental change and assessing the impacts of disturbance on benthic habitats. The GeoHab (Marine Geologi- cal and Biological Habitat Mapping) international symposium defines ben- thic habitat mapping as representing physically distinct areas of the sea- floor that are associated with a partic- ular assemblage of species. The rapid and recent evolution of technologies (Top) These diagrams show (a) the overlap between sequential image frames and (b) transla- tion and rotation parameters from a submersible's movement affecting image frames and the overlap area. (Bottom) ROV tracks and study areas: (a) Sections of video that have overlapping regions (circles) with adjacent tracks and (b) sections that were explored more than once. OCTOBER 2012 / st 15

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