Repeated 1-cm Resolution Topographic and 2.5-mm Resolution Photomosiac Surveys of Benthic Communities and Fine Scale Bedforms in Monterey Canyon

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
David W Caress1, Brett Hobson1, Hans J Thomas1, Richard Henthorn1, Eric J Martin1, Larry Bird1, Michael Risi1, Giancarlo Troni1, Charles K Paull1, Steven Rock2, Jose A Padial3 and Marcus M Hammond3, (1)Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, United States, (2)Stanford University, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford, CA, United States, (3)Stanford University, Aerospace, Stanford, CA, United States
The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has developed a low altitude, ROV-based seafloor mapping system that combines lidar laser ranging, multibeam sonar, and stereo photographic imagery. When operated at a 3-m altitude, this system maps seafloor topography with a 1-cm lateral resolution and simultaneously collects 2.5-mm resolution color photography. We have twice mapped an 80-m by 80-m area of a chemosynthetic clam community located at 2850-m depth in the Monterey Canyon axis. Both the topography and the photomosaics resolve changes in the clam community over a six-month interval. Many individual animals have moved, and tracks of those animals are visible in the lidar topography. No other changes in the seafloor at this site can be discerned. We have also performed single surveys of bedforms and scours at both 1850-m and 2850-m depths in Monterey Canyon.

The highest resolution bathymetry data are collected using a 3DatDepth SL1 lidar laser scanner. This system has a 30° field of view and ranges continuously, achieving a 1 cm sounding spacing at a 3 m altitude and 0.3 m/s speed. Bathymetry data are also collected using a 400-kHz Reson 7125 multibeam sonar. This configuration produces 512 beams across a 135° wide swath; each beam has a 0.5° acrosstrack by 1.0° alongtrack angular width. At a 3-m altitude, the nadir beams have a 2.5 cm acrosstrack and 5 cm alongtrack footprint. Dual Prosilica GX1920 2.4 Mpixel color cameras provide color stereo photography of the seafloor. Illumination is provided by dual xenon strobes. The camera housings have been fitted with corrective optics achieving a 90° field of view with less than 1% distortion. At a 3-m altitude the raw image pixels have a 2.5 mm resolution. Position and attitude data are provided by a Kearfott SeaDevil Inertial Navigation System (INS) integrated with a 300 kHz Teledyne RD Instruments Doppler velocity log (DVL). A separate Paroscientific pressure sensor is mounted adjacent to the INS. The INS Kalman filter is aided by the DVL velocity and pressure data, achieving navigational drift rates less than 0.05% of the distance traveled during surveys. The sensors are mounted pointed vertically down into a frame that can be installed into toolsleds on ROV Doc Ricketts and ROV Ventana.