Andrew W. Howell and Dr. Robert J. Richardson
North Carolina State University; Dept. Crop and Soil Sciences
Why do we want to sample submersed vegetation biomass using sonar?
Invasive aquatic plants, such as non-native hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), negatively impact waterway systems in the southeastern United States and on a global scale. Often, these aquatic weed species impede recreational activities, power generation, and disrupt native ecological systems. Costs associated with aquatic weed management include expenses accompanied with monitoring, mapping, and implementing control measures. Prompt detection and accurate mapping of submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) are critical components when formulating management decisions and practices. Therefore, SAV management protocols are often reliant upon the perceived extent of invasion. Traditional biomass sampling techniques have been widely utilized, but often require significant labor inputs, which limits repeatability, the scale of sampling, and the rapidness of processing. Advances in consumer available hydroacoustic technology (sonar) and data post-processing offer the opportunity to estimate SAV biomass at scale with reduced labor and economic requirements.
The objectives of this research were to document the use of an off-the-shelf consumer sonar/gps chartplotter to: 1) describe and characterize a relationship between hydroacoustic biovolume signature to measured hydrilla biomass; 2) develop algorithm for on-the-fly assessment of hydrilla biomass from interpolated biovolume records; 3) define seasonal hydrilla growth patterns at two NC piedmont reservoirs; and 4) create a visual representation of SAV development over time. From these objectives, the expected outcome was to describe a protocol for passive data collection while reducing the economic inputs associated with labor efforts involved in biomass sampling and post-processing evaluations. In our research, a Lowrance HDS-7 Gen2 was utilized to correlate biomass from monospecific stands of hydrilla within two different North Carolina piedmont reservoirs using BioBase 5.2 (now marketed as EcoSound – www.biobasemaps.com), cloud-based algorithm to aid in post-processing.
Continue reading “Guest Blog: Correlations between EcoSound Biovolume and Aquatic Plant Biomass”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22nd 2017
Global Marketing Manager, C-MAP
Aquatic Biologist & Biobase Product Expert
Building on the Power of the BioBase Cloud Mapping Platform, New Product Generates Full Inventories of Shallow Water Habitats
C-MAP®, a leading supplier of digital navigation products to the maritime market, in partnership with a global leader in remote sensing services, EOMAP GmbH & Co KG, announced today the launch of EcoSat.
A new semi-automated wetland and coastal habitat mapping product that is part of the BioBase Cloud Mapping Platform, EcoSat uses the unique reflectance properties of vegetation and sea bottoms from high resolution satellite imagery and creates distinct polygon objects with spatial properties like area and perimeter. EcoSat’s power is doubled when combined with its sister product EcoSound which uses sonar and GPS data files to map depth and submerged vegetation. EcoSat complements BioBase’s core functionality of submerged habitat mapping with sonar with new capabilities to inventory habitats in vast nearshore areas of aquatic environments. Aquatic habitat managers across the globe can use EcoSat to quickly assess and monitor changes in wetland complexes, shallow lakes, tidal estuaries and marshes, and benthic habitats. EcoSat will also be an invaluable tool for the assessment and monitoring of invasive aquatic plants. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) is currently using EcoSat and EcoSound to generate full aquatic vegetation inventories in high profile Florida lakes.
“The combination of the latest habitat image classification procedures and the high-performance of the BioBase Cloud environment brings significant benefits to all users that don’t have access to large data processing capacities,” said Marcus Bindel, EOMAP data analyst.
Leveraging the expertise of a team of remote sensing experts at EOMAP, EcoSat rapidly processes raw satellite imagery and creates unique habitat classifications (e.g., polygons in a shapefile). Shapefiles and raw imagery – that are often hundreds of megabytes – are uploaded and processed by BioBase’s powerful cloud-based servers. Shapefiles and imagery are stored in a user’s or organization’s private online account for easy access and sharing. BioBase customers can interact with these detailed EcoSat files simply with any internet-enabled device. Users can also export custom charts of the EcoSat classifications to their Lowrance or Simrad chartplotter and navigate directly to a habitat of interest.
“BioBase is a first-of-its-kind, off-the-shelf cloud solution for organizations and businesses that need full aquatic habitat inventories quickly,” said Greg Konig, head of product development, C-MAP. “Prior to BioBase automated mapping technologies, aquatic managers and researchers would spend countless hours at high costs just to produce a map. But not anymore.”
For more information on C-MAP Light Marine and Commercial products, visit www.c-map.com. For more information about EcoSat and the BioBase Cloud Mapping Platform, visit www.cibiobase.com.
C-MAP is a world-leading provider of marine information with products ranging from electronic navigational charts to fleet management, vessel and voyage optimization. C-MAP offers the world’s largest marine navigation digital chart database, helping customers to address the complexity of maritime operations through integrated, intelligent information systems. For more information, visit www.c-map.com.
|Processed polygons of emergent vegetation beds in Lake Tohopekaliga, FLfrom high resolution satellite imagery combined with submerged vegetation mapped with BioBase – EcoSound
|Download automatically created Lowrance or Simrad Chart files from EcoSat and verify classifications directly from your watercraft
BioBase’s EcoSound bottom composition (hardness) algorithm has become quite popular for researchers and lake/pond managers to determine where sedimentation from the watershed may be occurring. However, interpreting sonar returns in shallow environments (e.g., less than 7 ft or 2 m) with off-the-shelf sonar is challenging, especially if aquatic vegetation is present. Each situation is different and the objective of this blog is to inform you of how to interpret your EcoSound map in situations when you encounter counter intuitive bottom hardness results.
Here are some high level points to remember.
Continue reading “Interpreting bottom hardness in shallow lakes and ponds: digging deeper into the data”
BioBase is a powerful data collection tool for aquatic environments. To get the best results with BioBase – EcoSound, it is important to use proper data collection and management procedures. This post contains links to the resources that will help you get started with BioBase and get great data.
Our quality control team reviews every uploaded trip and looks for glaring issues with the trip like evidence of a slanted transducer, signal loss, or poor signal quality. They may email you if they notice any significant issues with your trip, and suggest ways to fix the issue or ways to improve data quality before logging again. The quality control process may cause data edits and offsets to be lost and can corrupt merges, thus requiring you to redo the offsets, edits, or merges. Please allow one business day for quality control before applying these changes to your trips, or check the quality control review status by viewing a trip’s report.
If there is a quality control reviewer’s name on the report with comments, the trip has been reviewed. You can also see any comments that were not emailed to you on the report.
It is also important to keep your Lowrance software updated. Software updates can be found here. Outdated software can result in inaccurate or lost data!
Our YouTube channel has many helpful videos, including data editing tutorials.
This post gives an overview on how EcoSound works along with some answers to frequently asked questions that many new users have.
The EcoSound Quick Start Guide shows recommended settings to use while logging sonar. Print this guide and keep it on your survey boat.
The EcoSound Support and Resources page has links to the EcoSound Full Operator’s Guide as well as several tutorials, including guides for using EcoSound data in QGIS.
If you ever need any assistance, contact the BioBase support team at firstname.lastname@example.org
What used to be known as BioBase will now be called EcoSound; a product name that better describes its function – using sound to characterize ecological environments. We’re not getting rid of the BioBase name; it’s just going to mean a lot more! Without changing function of the system, EcoSound uploads and merges will still be housed and displayed in a BioBase dashboard and on BioBase servers. Soon BioBase will be getting an online face lift and users will have an easier time navigating to the information they need when they need it. You’ve requested some changes and development is underway!
BioBase: The cloud platform re-positioned to support more than just sonar processing
With the move to C-MAP, BioBase is receiving a renewed focus to deliver the aquatic industry new and improved automated tools for the assessment of aquatic habitats. In addition to renaming our sonar processing service EcoSound, the BioBase brand is being elevated to represent its primary role as a powerful cloud processing platform and a dashboard for visualization and analysis of a wide variety of spatial aquatic data. BioBase will soon represent more than just an automated sonar mapping system. More about this in a separate announcement coming soon!
Another FAQ we get is wondering if there are published studies using BioBase technology? There are many legacy applications on which the BioBase technology is based. Further, now that a sufficient passage of years has accumulated to support the “research to publication” cycle, we’re happy to share several BioBase-specific studies published in the peer-reviewed literature. This is far from an exhaustive list and we’ve intentionally left out the niche growth in consumer side-scan technology for creating habitat maps. If there are good published papers you know of that are not on this list, please share in the comments.
Continue reading “Consumer Sonar for Bottom Mapping: Updated Reference List”
Thanks to advances in physical, chemical and biological technologies and funding that are focused on reducing sedimentation or muck depth in waterways, many water resource practitioners are eager to determine how much sediment is in a waterway of interest and how much could be removed. As such, we frequently are asked: “Will BioBase tell you how deep the sediment is?”
Continue reading “FAQ of the year: Does BioBase EcoSound Map Sediment Depth?”
At conferences, we often encounter curious coordinators of citizen monitoring programs about how they could use automated consumer technologies to monitor aquatic habitats. When they learn what BioBase does, a frequent question is: “That sounds pretty cool and something we could certainly apply, who else is using BioBase for citizen science applications?”
In response, we always highlight the Prior Lake Spring Lake Watershed District (PLSLWD) in Minnesota USA. PLSLWD is a leader when it comes to leveraging the talents of volunteers, partners, and Lowrance and BioBase technology to implement a comprehensive, standardized aquatic plant monitoring program. To learn more about the PLSLWD’s program and implementation strategies, check out this report.
|Schematic showing the collection of merged files collected by citizen volunteers. A PLSLWD intern coordinated efforts across multiple volunteers, informed citizens about desired travel routes, and even preloaded transect guides in their Lowrance Chartplotter for citizens to follow.
|Maps of Bottom Hardness (top), Bathymetry (middle), and Aquatic Vegetation Abundance (% of water column filled with vegetation or biovolume, Bottom) collected by citizens on Prior Lake with Lowrance Sounders/Chartplotters and processed automatically by BioBase Automated Lake Mapping System.
Although BioBase EcoSound was originally developed for aquatic vegetation mapping in inland lakes, users along both US Coasts have helped us diversify its toolbox to now be a powerful coastal habitat mapping tool as well!
One of the biggest challenges of mapping coastal habitats is their tidal influence with depths changing harmonically based on the moon phase and other factors. Fortunately, however, widespread tide stations and large public databases of tide predictions allow for accurate and precise offsets to georeferenced and time-stamped sonar logs from Lowrance HDS or Elite units uploaded to BioBase EcoSound. BioBase EcoSound immediately queries the nearest tide station to your upload (up to 75 km) and adjusts your depth and seagrass or kelp biovolume to the Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) datum every 5 minutes. Tidal statistics (Avg., start, stop, high, low,) are archived in your account for each trip.
Continue reading “BioBase EcoSound does Seagrass, Kelp, and Tides Too!”
We recently sent out a mailer to our subscribers letting them know about the portability solutions that we have come up with. Within minutes we received photos and details from many of our customers about how some they have used a little ingenuity to mount their Lowrance units on unique water craft. Below we have a photo gallery of images that could help you design your own portable setup. Of primary importance, however, is a mount that minimizes cavitation (air bubbles) directly under the transducer (e.g., surface noise) and maintaining a correct angle on the transducer. See recent blogs on this topic. The preferable solution is to permanently mount separate transducers following DIY guidance like shown here on each survey craft and just move the Lowrance Elite or HDS display from boat to boat. But if the job calls for a fully portable mount, we can help!
Continue reading “Portability Options for Your Lowrance”