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Special Issue "Multibeam Echosounder Measurements – Addressing Variability and Expanding the Horizon"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Ocean Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 3610

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jaroslaw Tegowski
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Oceanography, University of Gdansk, al. Marszalka Pilsudskiego 46, 81-378 Gdynia, Poland
Interests: acoustic seabed classification; mapping of benthic habitats; underwater ambient noise; advanced methods of signal processing
Dr. Philippe Blondel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physics, University of Bath, Bath, UK
Interests: marine acoustics and innovating imaging; seabed and habitat mapping; ambient noise underwater; marine renewable energies
Dr. Fantina Madricardo
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Science ISMAR, Italian National Research Council, 30122 Venice, Italy
Interests: seafloor geomorphology; benthic habitat mapping; human impacts on the seafloor in coastal areas
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jens Schneider von Deimling
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Institute of Geoscience, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany
Interests: experimental hydroacoustics; customized measurements and processing; biogeochemical hydroacoustic interferences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Multibeam echosounders (MBESs) have come of age over recent decades and they are increasingly used to map the oceans and water bodies around the world. We know less about our own planet than we do about the surface of Venus, which is of the same size but 250 million km away. This is compounded by the variability of MBES measurements with space and time. Complex seabeds, habitat changes, changing climate patterns and the increasing use of MBESs for applications beyond mapping make for very large variations between these measurements in space and time.

Manufacturers have increasingly realized the power of MBES-generated backscatter and have introduced calibrated and precisely geolocated backscattered “snippets” signals. In addition, water column measurements add to the richness of MBES data but have barely been exploited thus far. Multifrequency measurements are also possible, enriching the classification of morphological forms of the seabed and subsurface. This also enables fast, noninvasive classification of benthic habitats—a very important topic for the cataloguing of our planet's biological environments. The innovative use of modern multibeam echosounders in areas other than seafloor research enables the discovery of "new worlds"—e.g., the shape of underwater parts of glacier fronts entering the oceans; upside-down echosounders tracking gaseous plumes floating in the water; by monitoring ecosystem users of offshore structures such as marine renewable energy devices; by cataloguing large varieties of marine organisms; biomass estimates of submerged aquatic vegetation; imaging buried remnants of benthic life.

We invite all who are interested in studying underwater environments with multibeam echosounders to present their research in this Special Issue, from instrument development to processing approaches and examples of applications in the study of marine ecosystems and structures. As MBESs are used to expand the horizon of underwater sensing, we also welcome applications beyond traditional seabed mapping. We are looking forward to working with you all on this Special Issue of Remote Sensing, showcasing the latest research and results, promising approaches, and emerging trends.

Dr. Jaroslaw Tegowski
Dr. Philippe Blondel
Dr. Fantina Madricardo
Dr. Jens Schneider von Deimling
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • multibeam echosounder systems (MBESs)
  • innovative measuring techniques
  • acoustic classification
  • multifrequency/multiresolution imaging
  • seabed morphology, sediments, and marine habitats
  • water column MBES measurements
  • MBES processing
  • innovative domains of application

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Quantifying the Physical Impact of Bottom Trawling Based on High-Resolution Bathymetric Data
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(12), 2782; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14122782 - 10 Jun 2022
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Bottom trawling is one of the most significant anthropogenic pressures on physical seafloor integrity. The objective classification of physical impact is important to monitor ongoing fishing activities and to assess the regeneration of seafloor integrity in Marine Protected Areas. We use high-resolution bathymetric [...] Read more.
Bottom trawling is one of the most significant anthropogenic pressures on physical seafloor integrity. The objective classification of physical impact is important to monitor ongoing fishing activities and to assess the regeneration of seafloor integrity in Marine Protected Areas. We use high-resolution bathymetric data recorded by multibeam echo sounders to parameterize the morphology of trawl mark incisions and associated mounds in the Fehmarn Belt, SW Baltic Sea. Trawl marks are recognized by continuous incisions or isolated depressions with depths up to about 25 cm. Elevated mounds fringe a subset of the trawl marks incisions. A net resuspension of sediment takes place based on the volumetric difference between trawl mark incisions and mounds. While not universally applicable, the volume of the trawl mark incisions is suggested as an indicator for the future monitoring of the physical impact of bottom trawling in the Baltic Sea basins. Full article
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Article
Multiannual Seafloor Dynamics around a Subtidal Rocky Reef Habitat in the North Sea
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 2069; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14092069 - 26 Apr 2022
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Rocky reefs provide complex structures in the otherwise largely sand-dominated coastal North Sea. Therefore, these reefs are highly important natural habitats for the functioning of coastal ecosystems, as they provide shelter, refuge and nursery grounds for various mobile and sessile species. In the [...] Read more.
Rocky reefs provide complex structures in the otherwise largely sand-dominated coastal North Sea. Therefore, these reefs are highly important natural habitats for the functioning of coastal ecosystems, as they provide shelter, refuge and nursery grounds for various mobile and sessile species. In the North Sea, the spatial distribution of these habitats has been intensively investigated over recent years. However, these studies generally provide static accounts of the current state of these reef systems, but limited data exist on the temporal variations in sediment dynamics at and around natural rocky reefs. In this study, we provide observations from a multiannual time series of hydroacoustic seafloor surveys conducted at an isolated rocky reef in the North Sea. We use multibeam bathymetry and side-scan sonar backscatter data in combination with video observations, sediment sampling, and sub-bottom profiler data to assess the long-term variations of the rocky reef system. The reef is located in water depths between 11 and 17 m with an areal extent of ~0.5 km2 and is surrounded by mobile sands. The topography of the rocky reef appears to create a distinct hydrodynamic system that permits mobile sands to settle or move into bathymetrical deeper parts of the reef. Our results suggest a very dynamic system surrounding the reef with large scale scouring, sediment reworking and transport, while the shallower central part of the reef remains stable over time. We demonstrate the importance of hydrodynamics and current scouring around reefs for the local variability in seafloor properties over time. These small-scale dynamics are likewise reflected in the spatial distribution of sessile species, which are less abundant in proximity to mobile sands. The hydroacoustic mapping and monitoring of seafloor dynamics at higher spatial and temporal resolutions presents an important future direction in the study of valuable coastal habitats. Full article
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Article
Compression of Multibeam Echosounders Bathymetry and Water Column Data
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 2063; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14092063 - 25 Apr 2022
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Over the past decade, Multibeam Echosounders (MBES) have become one of the most used techniques in sea exploration. Modern MBES are capable of acquiring both bathymetric information on the seafloor and the reflectivity of the seafloor and water column. Water column imaging MBES [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, Multibeam Echosounders (MBES) have become one of the most used techniques in sea exploration. Modern MBES are capable of acquiring both bathymetric information on the seafloor and the reflectivity of the seafloor and water column. Water column imaging MBES surveys acquire significant amounts of data with rates that can exceed several GB/h depending on the ping rate. These large file sizes obtained from recording the full water column backscatter make remote transmission difficult if not prohibitive with current technology and bandwidth limitations. In this paper, we propose an algorithm to decorrelate water column and bathymetry data, focusing on the KMALL format released by Kongsberg Maritime in 2019. The pre-processing stage is integrated into FAPEC, a data compressor originally designed for space missions. Here, we test the algorithm with three different datasets: two of them provided by Kongsberg Maritime and one dataset from the Gulf of Mexico provided by Fugro USA Marine. We show that FAPEC achieves good compression ratios at high speeds using the pre-processing stage proposed in this paper. We also show the advantages of FAPEC over other lossless compressors as well as the quality of the reconstructed water column image after lossy compression at different levels. Lastly, we test the performance of the pre-processing stage, without the constraint of an entropy encoder, by means of the histograms of the original samples and the prediction errors. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Performance of the Phase Difference Bathymetric Sonar Depth Uncertainty Prediction Model
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(9), 2011; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14092011 - 22 Apr 2022
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Realistic predictions of the contribution of the uncertainty sources affecting the quality of the bathymetric measurements prior to a survey is of importance. To this end, models predicting these contributions have been developed. The objective of the present paper is to assess the [...] Read more.
Realistic predictions of the contribution of the uncertainty sources affecting the quality of the bathymetric measurements prior to a survey is of importance. To this end, models predicting these contributions have been developed. The objective of the present paper is to assess the performance of the bathymetric uncertainty prediction model for Phase Difference Bathymetric Sonars (PDBS) which is an interferometric sonar. Two data sets were acquired with the Bathyswath-2 system with a frequency of 234 kHz at average water depths of around 26 m and 8 m with pulse lengths equal to 0.0555 ms and 0.1581 ms, respectively. The comparison between the bathymetric uncertainties derived from the measurements and those predicted using the current model indicates a relatively good agreement except for the across-track distances close to the nadir. The performance of the prediction model can be improved by modifying the term addressing the effect of footprint shift, i.e., spatial decorrelation, on the bottom due to fact that at a given time the footprints seen by different receiving arrays are slightly different. Full article
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Article
Measurement of Seafloor Acoustic Backscatter Angular Dependence at 150 kHz Using a Multibeam Echosounder
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(23), 4771; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13234771 - 25 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 645
Abstract
Acoustic seafloor measurements with multibeam echosounders (MBESs) are currently often used for submarine habitat mapping, but the MBESs are usually not acoustically calibrated for backscattering strength (BBS) and cannot be used to infer absolute seafloor angular dependence. We present a study outlining the [...] Read more.
Acoustic seafloor measurements with multibeam echosounders (MBESs) are currently often used for submarine habitat mapping, but the MBESs are usually not acoustically calibrated for backscattering strength (BBS) and cannot be used to infer absolute seafloor angular dependence. We present a study outlining the calibration and showing absolute backscattering strength values measured at a frequency of 150 kHz at around 10–20 m water depth. After recording bathymetry, the co-registered backscattering strength was corrected for true incidence and footprint reverberation area on a rough and tilted seafloor. Finally, absolute backscattering strength angular response curves (ARCs) for several seafloor types were constructed after applying sonar backscattering strength calibration and specific water column absorption for 150 kHz correction. Thus, we inferred specific 150 kHz angular backscattering responses that can discriminate among very fine sand, sandy gravel, and gravelly sand, as well as between bare boulders and boulders partially overgrown by red algae, which was validated by video ground-truthing. In addition, we provide backscatter mosaics using our algorithm (BBS-Coder) to correct the angle varying gain (AVG). The results of the work are compared and discussed with the published results of BBS measurements in the 100–400 kHz frequency range. The presented results are valuable in extending the very sparse angular response curves gathered so far and could contribute to a better understanding of the dependence of backscattering on the type of bottom habitat and improve their acoustic classification. Full article
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