End of 2017 Field Season


With our 2017 field work season now at a close, we will be spending the winter finalizing our new maps and analyzing C-BASS footage collected throughout the year. 


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2016 Fieldwork Season


This year has already boasted a busy field schedule with more to come through to October. Since last December, we have completed five multibeam and two C-BASS cruises. Our last two mapping excursions are scheduled for mid-August and September and the last C-BASS cruise will be in October.


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Partnering with FIO and FWRI


Our partners in this project inlcude FIO, the Florida Institute of Oceanography, and FWRI, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, both housed right next door to our offices. The two vessels used for mapping and C-BASS (imaging) surveys on the West Florida Shelf (WFS) are the R/V Weatherbird II and R/V Bellows which are commissioned though FIO. 


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Integrating Technologies


Success of this project truly relies on the integration of many different technologies. The first step is the mapping process to obtain multibeam bathymetry which requires several data streams from the echosounder, GPS, POS MV, and tidal information among others.


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Essential Habitats and their Fish Communities


After an area is mapped using to produce high resolution multibeam bathymetry and backscatter, a subsequent cruise uses the C-BASS to image the bottom. The imagery offers data from which reef fish and sea turtle populations can be estimated as well as detailed information about habitat in the area.


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Mapping New Areas on the WFS


The C-SCAMP group at the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science acquired a new multibeam system (RESON Seabat 7125) which will be used to produce extremely high resolution multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data.


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C-BASS: A Towed Camera System for Visual Reef Fish Abundance Estimates and Benthic Habitat Assessment


Visit our YouTube page, C-SCAMP Videos


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Benthic Habitat Mapping

Benthic Habitat Mapping

Where are the areas of necessity?

Multibeam bathymetry and backscatter maps are ground-truthed using footage from the C-BASS and detailed habitat maps indicating essential reef fish and sea turtle habitat can then be developed.

Advanced Technology

Advanced Technology

Learn more about the instrumentation being used in this project.

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Creating Benthic Habitat Maps

By using the backscatter and bathymetry data in tandem with video for ground-truthing habitat types, we hope to eventually create habitat maps that span large areas; once different backscatter returns on are ground-truthed at various depths, an algorithm can be developed that predicts the habitat type over areas not ground-truthed via C-BASS video.

Extrapolating Density to Obtain Absolute Abundances

After obtaining footage of a transect, analysis begins by counting and identifying (to lowest taxonomic level possible, dependent on visibility conditions, altitude above bottom, etc.) all individuals within the chosen camera's field-of-view (FOV). Currently, the video is analyzed in one minute clips and this is used as the sampling unit.

Upon counting and identifying fishes, the area viewed for each minute is estimated by calculating the FOV and length of transect covered. This is done via a series of trigonometrical equations and using the ship's speed over ground, respectively. The density (number per square kilometer) of each species viewed per minute can then be calculated.

Density estimates are then post-stratified according to habitat type which is done using multibeam and backscatter maps in an Geographical Information System (GIS) as all the counts/density estimates are georeferenced. Knowing the area of each stratum, or habitat type, the stratified density estimates can then be extrapolated to obtain total abundance estimates for the entire survey area.

Using Several Data Sources to Define Priority Areas

In addition to fisheries data available through NOAA (Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas), there are many other sources used to decide which areas are priority for the upcoming mapping cruises. Some of these include:

1. Loggerhead Sea Turtle sightings - this species has diet overlap with Red Grouper (Epinephalus morio) meaning it's presence could be a good indicator of the grouper's habitat

2. Previously mapped areas with multibeam and backscatter

3. Nautical Charts

4. Commercial and Recreational Fishing Locations

5. Sidescan Data

 

Understanding Reactive Behavior

In order to understand the sampling ability of this system, it is necessary to investigate how fish react to C-BASS during surveys.  For the more conspicuous species (snappers, groupers, jacks), which are the targets of this technology, observed reactive movement is being quantified.  We've found that a majority of individuals have exhibited neutral behavior which includes remaining stationary or being "in transit" as C-BASS passes by.

C-BASS was also a part of the first Untrawlable Habitat Survey Initiative (UHSI) cruise in August of 2014.  The purpose of this cruise was to compare and test several survey technologies, including an ROV, AUV, and stationary cameras, to investigate what level of sampling coverage each was capable of.  This initiative was funded by and a collaboration with NOAA NMFS.

 

Above: Photo progression showing the reaction of a Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio) from it's initial and final views on the footage. The grouper does not appear to react to C-BASS until approximately 4-seconds after being initially spotted.

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@CSCAMPscience


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Current

Research Projects


28 APR 2017

OVER 55 HOURS OF IMAGERY COLLECTED AND THREE NEW AREAS MAPPED ON THE WFS

During this seven day cruise, our crew collected imagery data southwest of the Middle Grounds in addition to the Pipeline, the Elbow and Steamboat Lumps.

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23 OCT 2016

AREA SOUTH-WEST OF THE MIDDLE GROUNDS EXTENSIVELY SURVEYED WITH C-BASS

During this seven day cruise, our crew collected imagery data southwest of the Middle Grounds in addition to the Pipeline and the Elbow.

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13 APR 2016

C-BASS, MULTIBEAM AND EK-60 USED IN TANDEM FOR MOST RECENT SURVEY CRUISE

Over the course of this seven day cruise, several objectives were met for the three different technologies which resulted in an abundance of interesting & useful data.

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21 FEB 2016

C-BASS SURVEY OF THE ELBOW AND MORE RESULTS IN ALMOST 60 HOURS OF IMAGERY

During this six day cruise, our C-BASS crew surveyed in the Elbow, along the Gulfstream Pipeline and in Steamboat Lumps.

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11 DEC 2015

THE ELBOW MAPPED WITH ULTRA-HIGH RESOLUTION MULTIBEAM SYSTEM

This was our first mapping cruise using the new RESON Seabat 7125.

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