Evaluating the use of side-scan sonar for detecting freshwater mussel beds in turbid river environments

Hydrobiologia
By: , and 

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Abstract

Side-scan sonar is a valuable tool for mapping habitat features in many aquatic systems suggesting it may also be useful for locating sedentary biota. The objective of this study was to determine if side-scan sonar could be used to identify freshwater mussel (unionid) beds and the required environmental conditions. We used side-scan sonar to develop a series of mussel-bed reference images by placing mussel shells within homogenous areas of fine and coarse substrates. We then used side-scan sonar to map a 32-km river reach during spring and summer. Using our mussel-bed reference images, several river locations were identified where mussel beds appeared to exist in the scanned images and we chose a subset of sites (n = 17) for field validation. The validation confirmed that ~60% of the sites had mussel beds and ~80% had some mussels or shells present. Water depth was significantly related to our ability to predict mussel-bed locations: predictive ability was greatest at depths of 1–2 m, but decreased in water >2-m deep. We determined side-scan sonar is an effective tool for preliminary assessments of mussel presence during times when they are located at or above the substrate surface and in relatively fine substrates excluding fine silt.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating the use of side-scan sonar for detecting freshwater mussel beds in turbid river environments
Series title Hydrobiologia
DOI 10.1007/s10750-014-2017-z
Volume 743
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 11 p.
First page 127
Last page 137
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Noble County
Other Geospatial Lake McMurtry, Muddy Boggy River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N