Coral Reefs

, Volume 30, Supplement 1, pp 11–23

AUV-based bed roughness mapping over a tropical reef

Report

Abstract

Identifying fixed bed roughness scales of hydrodynamic relevance to waves and currents is challenging around coral reefs due to their highly inhomogeneous bathymetry. In order to characterize the spatial variability in reef roughness, a quantitative analysis of high-resolution sidescan sonar backscatter is performed for the identification of distinct substrates around a tropical reef and is related to echo sounder-based roughness measurements. Data were collected in the vicinity of the Kilo Nalu Observatory on the south shore of Oahu using sidescan sonar and a narrow beam echo sounder incorporated in a REMUS-100 (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). With basic statistics and principal component analysis of variables derived from the backscatter data, it is possible to discriminate between areas of rough reef, bare reef, and rippled sand. Echo sounder-derived spectral analysis did not reveal dominant length scales. However, by combining the seabed classification obtained from sidescan measurements with echo sounder data, spectral root mean square (RMS) height values of approximately 3.3 cm and 7.3 cm are assigned to the bare reef and rough reef areas, respectively, for roughness with wavelengths between 0.2 and 6 m.

Keywords

Seabed roughness Sidescan sonar Substrate classification Autonomous underwater vehicle 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ocean and Resources Engineering, School of Ocean and Earth Science and TechnologyUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHonoluluUSA

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