AFBI enhances seabed mapping capabilities
AFBI has been operational in seabed mapping for more than ten years and its knowledge of the seabed and associated benthic habitats are fundamental to marine resource management.
The EM3002 & Seapath 200 system logged water depths down to 200m during the commissioning trials on the AFBI vessel RV Corystes
Habitat maps aid the spatial planning of the seabed and inform the decision making processes involved in managing the demands placed on our marine environment; by fishing and the extraction of oil, gas and aggregates (gravel extraction), the planning of cable routes for electricity and telecommunications. There are also increasing pressures from offshore wind-farms/tidal turbine developments and leisure activities.
AFBI’s Marine Research Vessel Corystes, has enhanced its seabed mapping capability by taking delivery of a EM3002 high performance dual head multibeam system and Seapath 200 precise heading, attitude and positioning sensor to conduct high resolution benthic habitat mapping of the sea floor.
This state-of-the-art equipment significantly enhances AFBI’s capability in the field of seabed mapping to be carried out to the highest international standards.
As well as its own programme of research AFBI was recently involved in the EU Funded Mapping European Seabed Habitats Project.
Image of the wreck of the Rose II at the mouth of Belfast Lough gathered during the commissioning on the RV Corystes
EM3002 SIS Image of seabed at 198m gathered on the RV Corystes
The EM3002 high performance dual head multibeam system is a high frequency system not to disimilar to normal ships sonar.
There are agreed codes of practise for operating surveys in area where cetaceans occur.
AFBI is actively pursuing research projects using passive acoustics to monitor mammals in collaboration with the University of Queensland, Australia.
The MESH Project started in 2004 and is made up of a consortium of twelve partners from five European countries led by the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), with financial support from the EC’s INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme. The MESH partnership draws together scientific and technical habitat-mapping skills, expertise in data collation and its management, and proven practical experience in the use of seabed-habitat maps for environmental management within national regulatory frameworks. http://www.searchmesh.net
The Corystes is a state of the art purpose built research vessel, providing AFBI with a year-round capability in marine science for the Irish Sea, Northern Ireland’s coastal waters and the near-shelf area.
Corystes is based at the Port of Belfast.
Corystes carries out work for other customers as well as DARD and participates in joint research programmes, all geared towards achieving sustainability of Northern Ireland’s marine resources.