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Open AccessArticle

Limitations of Boulder Detection in Shallow Water Habitats Using High-Resolution Sidescan Sonar Images

1
Institute of Geosciences, Coastal Geology and Sedimentology, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
2
State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas (LLUR), 24220 Flintbek, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2019, 9(9), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9090390
Received: 30 July 2019 / Revised: 30 August 2019 / Accepted: 4 September 2019 / Published: 6 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geological Seafloor Mapping)
Stones and boulders in shallow waters (0–10 m water depth) form complex geo-habitats, serving as a hardground for many benthic species, and are important contributors to coastal biodiversity and high benthic production. This study focuses on limitations in stone and boulder detection using high-resolution sidescan sonar images in shallow water environments of the southwestern Baltic Sea. Observations were carried out using sidescan sonars operating with frequencies from 450 kHz up to 1 MHz to identify individual stones and boulders within different levels of resolution. In addition, sidescan sonar images were generated using varying survey directions for an assessment of range effects. The comparison of images of different resolutions reveals considerable discrepancies in the numbers of detectable stones and boulders, and in their distribution patterns. Results on the detection of individual stones and boulders at approximately 0.04 m/pixel resolution were compared to common discretizations: it was shown that image resolutions of 0.2 m/pixel may underestimate available hard-ground settlement space by up to 42%. If methodological constraints are known and considered, detailed information about individual stones and boulders, and potential settlement space for marine organisms, can be derived. View Full-Text
Keywords: habitat mapping; stones; object detection; Baltic Sea; seafloor classification habitat mapping; stones; object detection; Baltic Sea; seafloor classification
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von Rönn, G.A.; Schwarzer, K.; Reimers, H.-C.; Winter, C. Limitations of Boulder Detection in Shallow Water Habitats Using High-Resolution Sidescan Sonar Images. Geosciences 2019, 9, 390.

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