Side-scan sonar imaging of coral reefs in the Seychelles

Humber, Stuart s.humber at
Wed Oct 4 09:18:45 EDT 2000

Dear Coral List

I'd like to introduce myself to the coral mailing list and perhaps get some
feedback/ideas on the project I am working on.  I am a PhD student at
Imperial College, London using high frequency (675 kHz) side-scan sonar to
image coral reef areas in the Seychelles.  I am investigating ways of using
this technique to create habitat maps (as a first step, discriminating
between seagrass/sand/reef) and also as a monitoring tool to identify coral
damage (discriminating between healthy and dead coral).  I intend to use a
combination of image processing techniques used in remote sensing applied to
the side-scan sonar imagery with the integration of other datasets such as
aerial photography, sediment sampling, underwater photography and diver

Our baseline dataset was collected in November 1998 in the St. Anne, Cousin
and Curieuse marine parks in the Seychelles.  We have cooperated with the
Shoals of Capricorn project (  <> who have helped with fieldwork logistics and
subsequent diver observations for ground truthing the data.  We will have a
follow up field season this year to study the effects of the major coral
bleaching episode in 1998 which caused wide-ranging damage to the reefs of
the Indian Ocean.

I'd love to hear from other people who are working in the Seychelles on
mapping/monitoring projects and anyone else who is studying methods to
identify/quantify coral damage.  On a more technical note, I would be
grateful if anyone has experience with using side-scan sonar in coral reef
areas could give me some advice on the acquisition, processing and
interpretation of the data.

Kind regards

Stuart Humber
l> &Geophys/Geophys/people/stuart3.html
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