Highly reflective seafloor features imaged by sidescan sonar in nearshore waters off the Northern Channel Islands (California, USA) have been observed in subsequent submersible dives to be areas of thin sand coverihg bedrock. Adjacent areas of rocky seafloor, suitable as habitat for endangered species of abalone and rockfish, and encrusting organisms, cannot be differentiated from the areas of thin sand on the basis of acoustic backscatter (i.e. grey level) alone. We found second-order textural analysis of sidescan sonar data useful to differentiate the bottom types where data is not degraded by near-range distortion (caused by slant-range and ground-range corrections), and where data is not degraded by far-range signal attenuation. Hand editing based on submersible observations is necessary to completely convert the sidescan sonar image to a bottom character classification map suitable for habitat mapping. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Use of acoustic classification of sidescan sonar data for mapping benthic habitat in the Northern Channel Islands, California