Armstrong 2016

scientific chapter |

Landscape-level imaging of benthic environments in optically-deep waters

Armstrong RA


Optical imaging of coral reefs and other benthic communities present below one attenuation depth, the limit of effective airborne and satellite remote sensing, requires the use of in situ platforms such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), towed platforms and drop cameras. High-resolution optical data from AUV and ROV sensors has provided unprecedented information on the community structure and condition of the deeper zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate coral reefs of Puerto Rico and theUS Virgin Islands. The high-resolution optical images and video also provide useful data for inventories of the fish species present as well as macro invertebrates associated with these habitats. The digital photo transects obtained by the Seabed AUV provided quantitative data on living coral, sponge, gorgonian, and macroalgal cover as well as coral species richness and diversity. AUV and ROV benthic assessments could provide the required information for selecting unique areas of high coral cover, biodiversity and structural complexity for habitat protection and ecosystem-based management.

Depth range
21- 219 m

Mesophotic “mentions”
32 x (total of 3446 words)

* Focused on 'mesophotic' depth range
* Focused on 'mesophotic coral ecosystem'

Methods and Technology
Community structure

Overall benthic (groups)

Puerto Rico
US Virgin Islands

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)

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