Figure 1: Acoustic sensors: Multibeam echsounder (MBES), Singlebeam echosounder (SBES), Side-scan sonar (SSS). Modified from Gaida (2020).
Analysis of acoustic data for reef indicators by Timo Gaida - overview
Acoustic sensors, such as the multibeam echosounder (MBES) and side-scan sonar (SSS), allow to map large areas of the seabed with a high resolution (~decimeters) in a relatively short time period (Figure 1). It provides a remote opportunity to quantify sediment distributions, to discriminate between habitats or identify natural features (e.g., boulders, biogenic reefs) and manmade structures (e.g., pipelines, shipwrecks).
While the SSS is more suitable to detect distinct features on seabed, the MBES allows to produce objectively and automatically large-scale and detailed sediment or habitat maps of the seabed. Ideally, an investigation of the seabed comprises the use of both sensors. If budget, study area or time limitations only allow the use of a single sensor, it needs to be evaluated based on the project purpose and in a preliminary investigation, which sensor should be used.