Techniques for spatial analysis and visualization of benthic mapping data: final report

Andrews, Brian (2003) Techniques for spatial analysis and visualization of benthic mapping data: final report. Charleston, SC, NOAA/National Ocean Service/Coastal Services Center, (SAIC Report, 623)

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The mapping and geospatial analysis of benthic environments are multidisciplinary tasks that have become more accessible in recent years because of advances in technology and cost reductions in survey systems. The complex relationships that exist among physical, biological, and chemical seafloor components require advanced, integrated analysis techniques to enable scientists and others to visualize patterns and, in so doing, allow inferences to be made about benthic processes. Effective mapping, analysis, and visualization of marine habitats are particularly important because the subtidal seafloor environment is not readily viewed directly by eye. Research in benthic environments relies heavily, therefore, on remote sensing techniques to collect effective data. Because many benthic scientists are not mapping professionals, they may not adequately consider the links between data collection, data analysis, and data visualization. Projects often start with clear goals, but may be hampered by the technical details and skills required for maintaining data quality through the entire process from collection through analysis and presentation. The lack of technical understanding of the entire data handling process can represent a significant impediment to success. While many benthic mapping efforts have detailed their methodology as it relates to the overall scientific goals of a project, only a few published papers and reports focus on the analysis and visualization components (Paton et al. 1997, Weihe et al. 1999, Basu and Saxena 1999, Bruce et al. 1997). In particular, the benthic mapping literature often briefly describes data collection and analysis methods, but fails to provide sufficiently detailed explanation of particular analysis techniques or display methodologies so that others can employ them. In general, such techniques are in large part guided by the data acquisition methods, which can include both aerial and water-based remote sensing methods to map the seafloor without physical disturbance, as well as physical sampling methodologies (e.g., grab or core sampling). The terms benthic mapping and benthic habitat mapping are often used synonymously to describe seafloor mapping conducted for the purpose of benthic habitat identification. There is a subtle yet important difference, however, between general benthic mapping and benthic habitat mapping. The distinction is important because it dictates the sequential analysis and visualization techniques that are employed following data collection. In this paper general seafloor mapping for identification of regional geologic features and morphology is defined as benthic mapping. Benthic habitat mapping incorporates the regional scale geologic information but also includes higher resolution surveys and analysis of biological communities to identify the biological habitats. In addition, this paper adopts the definition of habitats established by Kostylev et al. (2001) as a “spatially defined area where the physical, chemical, and biological environment is distinctly different from the surrounding environment.” (PDF contains 31 pages)

Item Type: Monograph or Serial Issue
Title: Techniques for spatial analysis and visualization of benthic mapping data: final report
Personal Creator/Author:
Andrews, Brian
Series Name: SAIC Report
Number: 623
Date: 2003
Publisher: NOAA/National Ocean Service/Coastal Services Center
Place of Publication: Charleston, SC
Issuing Agency: United States National Ocean Service
Additional Information: Science Applications International Corporation Report 623
Subjects: Management
Item ID: 2214
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2009 18:33
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 19:27

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