As a complimentary part of our benthic studies, AQUAFACT uses Sediment Profile Imagery (SPI), an innovative way to add speed, value and confidence to benthic surveys and give us a close-up view of the sea floor.
SPI uses everyday technology in an innovative way. Based on digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera photography and computer-based image analysis, SPI takes images of the upper ca 25cm of the sea floor, to provide an immediate overview of physical chemical and biological parameters.
Faunal types photographed using Sediment Profile Imagery.
And AQUAFACT has added an additional camera to the SPI capability that takes a photograph of the sediment surface before the prism penetrates the sediment. This, in tandem with the SPI image, allows a three-dimensional appreciation of the sea bed.
Three-dimensional image of the sea bed taken using an additional camera.
We have 3 SPI systems, one that is used by SCUBA divers for surveying under and around fish farms, a larger system that depth rated to 4,000 m and a larger again system that operates to 6,000m. The latter two systems operate automatically.
Benthic studies are a way to study marine aquatic environments with a view to establishing the environmental status of these habitats. They are a vital part of site suitability studies for developments including offshore wind. Whereas physical sediment sampling and laboratory analysis can be time-consuming, using SPI greatly speeds up the time required to write reports and can provide relevant data to the client/legislator in a matter of hours. When required, sites can be assessed on board the survey vessel.
Habitat types photographed using Sediment Profile Imagery.
With the growing requirements for environmental impact assessment and monitoring, SPI provides our clients in State Authorities, commercial enterprises and engineering consultants with a very rapid, cost-effective means of assessing the status of underwater sediment habitats. Using this technique gives a significant competitive edge to the contract price over the use of traditional sampling techniques.
Sediment types photographed using Sediment Profile Imagery.
And if there’s something we’ve learned from our decades of surveying, it’s that images are a great way to present data to stakeholders. From marine mammals to crayfish and crabs, ecological information packs more of a punch when it’s presented pictorially.