Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Summers, G; Lim, A; Wheeler, A. J
Remote Sensing
A Characterisation of Benthic Currents from Seabed Bathymetry: An Object-Based Image Analysis of Cold-Water Coral Mounds
Optional Fields
Seabed sedimentary bedforms (SSBs) are strong indicators of current flow (direction and velocity) and can be mapped in high resolution using multibeam echosounders. Many approaches have been designed to automate the classification of such SSBs imaged in multibeam echosounder data. However, these classification systems only apply a geomorphological contextualisation to the data without making direct assertions on the velocities of benthic currents that form these SSBs. Here, we apply an object-based image analysis (OBIA) workflow to derive a geomorphological classification of SSBs in the Moira Mounds area of the Belgica Mound Province, NE Atlantic through k-means clustering. Cold-water coral reefs as sessile filter-feeders benefit from strong currents are often found in close association with sediment wave fields. This OBIA provided the framework to derive SSB wavelength and wave height, these SSB attributes were used as predictor variables for a multiple linear regression to estimate current velocities. Results show a bimodal distribution of current flow directions and current speed. Furthermore, a 5 k-means classification of the SSB geomorphology exhibited an imprinting of current flow consistency which altered throughout the study site due to the interaction of regional, local, and micro scale topographic steering forces. This study is proof-of-concept for an assessment tool applied to vulnerable marine ecosystems but has wider applications for applied seabed appraisals and can inform management and monitoring practice across a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Deriving spatial patterns of hydrodynamic processes from widely available multibeam echosounder maps is pertinent to many avenues of research including scour predictions for offshore structures such as wind turbines, sediment transport modelling, benthic fisheries, e.g., scallops, cable route and pipeline risk assessment and habitat mapping.
Grant Details