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Hydrography to Biology: Developing Integrated Approaches for Benthic Habitat Mapping

Fisheries and Oceans Canada provided $667,047 via the Partnership Fund over three years to Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) for this collaboration in benthic (seabed) habitat mapping – an Atlantic Ocean research priority set by the joint Canada-U.S.A-European Union "Galway Statement". High resolution maps revealing the complexities of the seabed environment are being made possible by developments in the field of acoustic remote sensing, such as multi-beam echo-sounders (MBES) combined with seabed observation using video, stills, and physical grab samples. This project is founded on a successful 2016 DFO/NSCC partnership (Processing of Multibeam Echo-Sounders) Backscatter for Benthic Habitat Mapping).

This three year project focuses on the Bay of Fundy and will refine existing methods and test new approaches for superior integration of types of data used in habitat maps. Habitat maps are based on hydrographic acoustic data sets including MBES bathymetry and backscatter data, but it is the successful integration of biological and oceanographic data that reveals the environment accurately, and increases the usefulness of the maps as guides to the seafloor environment.

NSCC will mobilize the knowledge via the Canadian Ocean Mapping Research and Education Network (COMREN). A DFO Science Advisory Committee will be set up to oversee the project (meeting annually).

Project Number: MAR2017.2
Year: 2017-18; 2018-19; 2019-20
Partner: Nova Scotia Community College, Canadian Ocean Mapping Research and Education Network
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Craig J. Brown
Eco-region: Atlantic

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