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Open AccessArticle

Accuracy and Precision of Low-Cost Echosounder and Automated Data Processing Software for Habitat Mapping in a Large River

1
Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
2
Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology and Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, NB E3B 5A3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(7), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11070116
Received: 30 June 2019 / Revised: 12 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 19 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aquatic Environmental Monitoring and Assessment)
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Abstract

The development of consumer hydroacoustic systems continues to advance, enabling the use of low-cost methods for professional mapping purposes. Information describing habitat characteristics produced with a combination of low-cost commercial echosounder (Lowrance HDS) and a cloud-based automated data processing tool (BioBase EcoSound) was tested. The combination frequently underestimated water depth, with a mean absolute error of 0.17 ± 0.13 m (avg ± 1SD). The average EcoSound bottom hardness value was high (0.37–0.5) for all the substrate types found in the study area and could not be used to differentiate between the substrate size classes that varied from silt to bedrock. Overall, the bottom hardness value is not informative in an alluvial river bed setting where the majority of the substrate is composed of hard sands, gravels, and stones. EcoSound separated vegetation presence/absence with 85–100% accuracy and assigned vegetation height (EcoSound biovolume) correctly in 55% of instances but often overestimated it in other instances. It was most accurate when the vegetation canopy was ≤25% or >75% of the water column. Overall, as a low-cost, easy-to-use application EcoSound offers rapid data collection and allows users with no specialized skill requirements to make more detailed bathymetry and vegetation maps than those typically available for many rivers, lakes, and estuaries. View Full-Text
Keywords: sonar; habitat; bathymetry; macrophyte biovolume; EcoSound sonar; habitat; bathymetry; macrophyte biovolume; EcoSound
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Helminen, J.; Linnansaari, T.; Bruce, M.; Dolson-Edge, R.; Curry, R.A. Accuracy and Precision of Low-Cost Echosounder and Automated Data Processing Software for Habitat Mapping in a Large River. Diversity 2019, 11, 116.

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