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Title: Cost-Effective Mapping of Benthic Habitats in Inland Reservoirs through Split-Beam Sonar, Indicator Kriging, and Historical Geologic Data

Because bottom substrate composition is an important control on the temporal and spatial location of the aquatic community, accurate maps of benthic habitats of inland lakes and reservoirs provide valuable information to managers, recreational users, and scientists. Therefore, we collected vertical, split-beam sonar data (roughness [E1], hardness [E2], and bathymetry) and sediment samples to make such maps. Statistical calibration between sonar parameters and sediment classes was problematic because the E1:E2 ratios for soft (muck and clay) sediments overlapped a lower and narrower range for hard (gravel) substrates. Thus, we used indicator kriging (IK) to map the probability that unsampled locations did not contain coarse sediments. To overcome the calibration issue we tested proxies for the natural processes and anthropogenic history of the reservoir as potential predictive variables. Of these, a geologic map proved to be the most useful. The central alluvial valley and mudflats contained mainly muck and organic-rich clays. The surrounding glacial till and shale bedrock uplands contained mainly poorly sorted gravels. Anomalies in the sonar data suggested that the organic-rich sediments also contained trapped gases, presenting additional interpretive issues for the mapping. We extended the capability of inexpensive split-beam sonar units through the incorporation of historic geologic mapsmore » and other records as well as validation with dredge samples. Through the integration of information from multiple data sets, were able to objectively identify bottom substrate and provide reservoir users with an accurate map of available benthic habitat.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: PLoS One, 9(4):Article No. e95940
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
bottom sediment, fisheries, geostatistics, GIS, habitat mapping, reservoir, sonar