This project demonstrated a seafloor survey approach for generating detailed benthic habitat maps at MHK sites. The approach combined multibeam bathymetry and acoustic backscatter (multibeam echosounder, MBES) mapping with sediment profile imaging and plan view (SPI–PV) imaging as a rapid, cost-effective benthic habitat mapping protocol, and it can be used at any marine renewable energy site (e.g., offshore wind farms) where benthic impacts are a concern. A primary technical innovation was the development of image processing software that automatically identifies and measures key features in the images. We also designed, built, and tested a power SPI camera system that is effective in sampling firm substrates. This project is part of the DOE Triton Initiative.
U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Location of Research
Olympia and Sequim, Washington; Newport, Oregon
It is important to document the physical and biological seabed habitat conditions at MHK and other marine renewable energy sites before, during, and after device deployment. The objective of this project was to design and demonstrate a consistent, repeatable, and semi-automated seafloor survey method for generating broad-scale, high-resolution benthic habitat maps of MHK sites. The approach developed provides cost-effective, contiguous, and high-resolution spatial coverage over broad areas, can be communicated universally, and can be used to inform the siting, permitting, and monitoring needs of regulators, developers, and other stakeholders.
This 3-year project was completed in June 2020. We surveyed and generated detailed benthic habitat maps of three coastal areas, two near Sequim, Washington, and one at the PacWave South Wave Energy Test Site off Newport, Oregon. We developed a computer vision image analysis platform (iSPI) that uses deep learning, neural network algorithms to automatically identify and measure key features in the images, such as grain size, redox depth, biogenic structures, and biota. We also designed, built, and field-tested a prototype power SPI camera that achieves improved penetration in firm substrates.
The focused combination of MBES acoustic and SPI–PV imaging technologies can be used to rapidly (days to weeks) and cost-effectively map broad seafloor areas (tens of square kilometers) and document benthic habitat conditions at a detail level that is suitable to be an effective offshore renewable energy site seabed monitoring tool. The computer-automated image processing system generates consistent and repeatable physical and biologic image data sets that are key to ground-truthing the acoustic survey data. The prototype power SPI camera provides a proof of concept for achieving improved SPI camera prism penetration in firm, sandy substrates but additional resources/work are needed to develop a readily deployable power SPI system.
- Revelas, E.C., B. Sackmann, N. Maher, and C. Jones. 2020. Mapping of benthic habitats at marine renewable energy sites using multibeam echosounder and sediment profile imaging technologies. Proceedings of the Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX.
- Sackmann, B., G. Revelas, K. Whitehead, C. Schultz, and C. Jones. 2020. Artificial intelligence and computer vision for cost-effective benthic habitat characterizations. Poster presentation at the Ocean Sciences Meeting. Co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union, the Association for the Sciences Limnology and Oceanography, and The Oceanography Society, San Diego, CA. February 16–21.
- Revelas, E.; Sackmann, B.; Jones, C.; Maher, N. . A Benthic Habitat Monitoring Approach for Marine and Hydrokinetic Sites. Report by Integral Consulting Inc. Report for US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
- Revelas, E., B. Sackmann, and C. Jones. 2019. A streamlined and standardized benthic habitat mapping approach for marine and hydrokinetic site environmental assessments. Poster presentation at 7th Annual Marine Energy Technology Symposium, Washington, DC. April 1−3.
- Browning, D., G. Revelas, and B. Jaworski. 2019. A power sediment-profile image camera system for effective profile imaging of firm substrates. Platform presentation at Tenth International Conference on the Remediation and Management of Contaminated Sediments, New Orleans, LA. February 11–14.
- Revelas, E.C., B. Sackmann, I. Stupakoff, and C. Jones. 2018. Standardized and cost-effective benthic habitat mapping tools for marine and hydrokinetic site environmental assessments. Oral presentation. Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping (GeoHab) Conference. Santa Barbara, CA. May 7–11.
- Revelas, E.C., B. Sackmann, A. Thurlow, and C. Jones. 2018. Mapping benthic habitat conditions and seafloor deposits using sediment profile imaging and a semiautomated image processing system Proceedings of the Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX. April 30–May 3.
- Sackmann, B., E. Revelas, and C. Jones. 2018. Standardized and cost-effective benthic habitat mapping tools for marine and hydrokinetic site environmental assessments. Poster presented at 6th Annual Marine Energy Technology Symposium, Washington, DC. April 30–May 2.