WP1 - Hydroacoustic and Visual Habitat Mapping

Work package 1 brings together experts and expertise from leading institutes in Europe performing hydroacoustic and visual habitat mapping to learn what kind of habitats exists, gain knowledge about their distribution and understand their distribution patterns with respect to depth, morphology, terrain derivatives, geology/sedimentology as well as environmental parameters e.g. temperature, salinity, O2-concentrations and water currents.
The group has substantial knowledge of different habitats and best possible mapping techniques and strategies. Sustainable data storage, quality control and quality assurance of hydroacoustic data from ship and AUV based multibeam and sidescan systems is meanwhile common practice; however, the vast amounts of high quality photos acquired during dedicated AUV photo-surveys and their quantitative annotation is still technically challenging. For this WP1 involves a group specialized in photo storage, interactive but also automated photo-annotation. They will use sophisticated software technology and database systems for an instant collaborative taxonomic labeling in the recorded images. Within this project, WP1 will use all possible state-of-the-art technology for habitat mapping linked to best-practice processing techniques and scientific interpretation with respect to biology, geology and sedimentology.


There are three main goals in WP1:

  • To reinvestigate the DISCOL area 26 years after its disturbance in 1989 and compare new biological and sedimentological findings with data acquired between 1989 and 1996 during RV SONNE cruises (SO61, 64, 77, 106). Special attention will be given to the disturbed area, undisturbed and background sites will also be reinvestigated.
  • To perform baseline studies in the CCZ by multibeam mapping some of the areas for the first time with ship-based systems; perform high resolution multibeam mapping with AUV along dedicated transects/areas that likely show the highest habitat diversity, and finally perform visual investigations (AUV, ROV, towed camera) to study biological diversity and abundance and geology/sedimentological conditions.
  • To fine tune mapping techniques in Mn-nodule areas to be usable for resource assessments at the same time as they are usable for environmental baseline/assessment studies. Furthermore, a goal is to develop interactive/automated photo annotation processes/techniques for sustainable and ‘easy-to-use' data storage to secure baseline information of the environmental state in the CCZ for possible mining activities in the future.