Professional Spotlight: Santa Cruz Harbor Sediment Mapping

Blake Anderson is the harbormaster at the Santa Cruz Harbor in California. As harbormaster he oversees all the operations of the harbor, harbor patrol staff, which includes search and rescue, law enforcement and public safety. He also oversees administration of about 1000 boat slips and day to day operations of the harbor. 6 years ago, Blake was faced with the challenge of rapidly mapping the constant shifting sand shoals in the harbor and turned his attention to BioBase as a potentially rapid mapping system

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What Sonar Do I Need for BioBase Mapping? – Updated

What kind of sonar hardware should I buy for BioBase Mapping is the most common question we are asked. Admittedly, continual change in technology, products, and features can be intimidating and sometimes confusing. With this blog, we focus on what you need to know to get started with BioBase

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Professional Spotlight – Power Plant Biologist

Professional Spotlight BioBase

For this Professional Spotlight the BioBase team sat down with a biologist at a power plant. They use BioBase to evaluate risk of cooling water intake blockage from aquatic vegetation.  This is one of many methods they use ensure abundant cooling water is available for the redundant intake systems.   In 2012, invasive zebra mussels invaded the system and paved the way for aquatic vegetation by clearing the water.  They map aquatic vegetation during the growing season and use the polygon tool to measure percent area covered and biovolume in the areas of interest.  Aquatic vegetation management recommendations are based on this data.  Before BioBase they took samples using a rake to determine what species were present and estimate the total biovolume. Now using BioBase they can easily measure biovolume at location with ease.

When asked why they chose to use BioBase they responded, “the value, there are a lot of options out there, most are expensive, but BioBase is not.”  Even at a low cost “it still produces very reliable data, BioBase is a high value product.”

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BioBase Troubleshooting Lowrance Sonar and GPS Source

BioBase Tips and Tricks Logo

Too commonly we get files uploaded from customers that had either no sonar information or no GPS location in the file. This is typically due to some unit malfunction or user oversight of a disabled setting. If there is no GPS position or no sonar depth in the file, not surprisingly BioBase cannot create a map.  Here we show some of the most common troubleshooting tips and tricks that will help you diagnose common issues with newer generation Lowrance and get you back to BioBasing on the water.

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What Is BioBase?

What Is BioBase?

What is BioBase? BioBase is composed of two different products, EcoSound and EcoSat. Ecosat processes satellite imagery to create shallow vegetation and benthic habitat maps. While, EcoSound uses off-the-shelf sonar technology and automatic cloud processing to create professional bathymetry, bottom composition, and aquatic vegetation maps. BioBase removes the labor intensive and high cost elements of acquiring high quality data very quickly so you can focus your efforts on aquatic resource management.

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Professional Spotlight – Dr. Chris Harrod and Chilean Kelp Mapping

Professional Spotlight

The Professional Spotlight series is a deep dive into the global BioBase community where we highlight the unique ways sonar driven mapping is assisting research, conservation and sustainability.

The BioBase team sat down with Dr. Chris Harrod for a look into how he uses BioBase. Chris (from the UK) is a full professor of Fish and Aquatic Ecology at the University of Antofagasta in Antofagasta, Chile. He does a mixture of research, teaching, and administration tasks but our interest with him was the applied research techniques for which he was using BioBase. His research is focused on a macroalgae called kelp (aka seaweed) and its importance as a source of food/energy to fish and invertebrates in the coastal zone. He is also interested in how kelp can function as habitat, food, an anchor of sediment and even slow the turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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Mapping and avoiding dense weed beds to get an edge while yacht racing

By Herb Garcia

Sailing enthusiast and BioBase Ambassador

Lake Minnetonka is one of the largest and most heavily used recreational lakes in Minnesota and is composed of an interconnected system of bays (Figure 1). Every summer, a rooted invasive aquatic plant, Eurasian watermilfoil creates thick bottom to surface mats in many areas of the lake. While these mats may occur anywhere on the lake, they generally are thickest in certain shallow areas such as the Diamond Reef area in the main lake of Lake Minnetonka (officially described as Lower Lake North). This reef is popular with anglers, power boaters, and sailors. On any given night or weekend, well over a hundred keelboats may take part in regular club racing events or regattas here. World class level sailors, including Olympic champions, America’s Cup, and other accomplished sailors regularly race on the lake and the competition can be intense. When competition is tight, every advantage is important.

Figure 1. Lake Minnetonka; a popular recreational and fishing lake just west of the Twin City metropolitan area of Minnesota. The red box highlights an area popular with boaters, anglers, and sailors. The blue contoured areas represent areas uploaded and processed by anglers using the Genesis mapping service and aggregated into the C-MAP social map. Social maps can also be viewed in the C-MAP App.

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Lowrance and BioBase informing Manatee Conservation in Lake Ossa, Cameroon Africa

Fascinating study recently published in the esteemed scientific journal Ecology and Evolution demonstrating how Lowrance HDS and BioBase were used to create the first bathymetric and vegetation map of Lake Ossa in Cameroon, Africa. These maps along with other environmental data collected by researchers were used to create a habitat suitability model for the charismatic African Manatee, whose populations are now threatened in Africa due to habitat degradation.

This is an open access journal from Wiley and available here for download.

Below is the abstract

African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) habitat suitability at Lake Ossa, Cameroon, using trophic state models and predictions of submerged aquatic vegetation

First published: 07 October 2021

Abstract

The present study aims at investigating the past and current trophic status of Lake Ossa and evaluating its potential impact on African manatee health. Lake Ossa is known as a refuge for the threatened African manatees in Cameroon. Little information exists on the water quality and health of the ecosystem as reflected by its chemical and biological characteristics. Aquatic biotic and abiotic parameters including water clarity, nitrogen, phosphorous, and chlorophyll concentrations were measured monthly during four months at each of 18 water sampling stations evenly distributed across the lake. These parameters were then compared with historical values obtained from the literature to examine the dynamic trophic state of Lake Ossa. Results indicate that Lake Ossa’s trophic state parameters doubled in only three decades (from 1985 to 2016), moving from a mesotrophic to a eutrophic state. The decreasing nutrient gradient moving from the mouth of the lake (in the south) to the north indicates that the flow of the adjacent Sanaga River is the primary source of nutrient input. Further analysis suggests that the poor transparency of the lake is not associated with chlorophyll concentrations but rather with the suspended sediments brought-in by the Sanaga River. Consequently, our model demonstrated that despite nutrient enrichment, less than 5% of the lake bottom surface sustained submerged aquatic vegetation. Thus, shoreline emergent vegetation is the primary food available for the local manatee population. During the dry season, water recedes drastically and disconnects from the dominant shoreline emergent vegetation, decreasing accessibility for manatees. The current study revealed major environmental concerns (eutrophication and sedimentation) that may negatively impact habitat quality for manatees. The information from the results will be key for the development of the management plan of the lake and its manatee population. Efficient land use and water management across the entire watershed may be necessary to mitigate such issues.

Lake Ossa Bathymetric Map
First ever bathymetric map of Lake Ossa in Cameroon created with Lowrance HDS and BioBase. Lake map can be viewed in genesismaps.com/socialmap.

EcoSound New Feature: Advanced Processing Preferences

The rollout of the new BioBase EcoSound vegetation and bottom hardness algorithm required substantial refactoring of our core processing code. Read about the changes here. While we were under the hood, we took the opportunity to implement some enhancements that our frequent BioBase users should appreciate. NOTE: Users still select the unit (Imperial or Metric) in the primary user profile area of their BioBase account (My Account).

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BioBase EcoSound Vegetation and Bottom Hardness Algorithms Improved

Sonar technology continues to improve bringing anglers and aquatic managers better, more clear pictures of the underwater environment on which they are so intently focused. Launched in 2011, BioBase’s EcoSound technology was the first cloud aquatic mapping system designed to process sonar logs from off-the-shelf Lowrance® sonar and create maps of bathymetry, aquatic vegetation biovolume, and bottom hardness for aquatic resource professionals. Today, BioBase is the leading cloud software solution for automated lake and coastal seagrass mapping.

Between 2011 and 2014, the algorithm underwent five major revisions. The bottom hardness algorithm has undergone two major revisions, with the last one in 2014.  Thus, our code base was due for an overhaul in order to maintain performance and compatibility with newer generation Lowrance and Simrad sonar. This refactoring effort was also an opportunity for us to improve the vegetation and bottom hardness algorithms. Many of these improvements also carry over sister consumer technology C-MAP Genesis, which uses many of the same algorithms and backend processing architecture

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