Using Underwater Imagery as a Complementary Tool for Benthos Sampling in an Area with High-Energy Hydrodynamic Conditions
Using Underwater Imagery as a Complementary Tool for Benthos Sampling in an Area with High- Energy Hydrodynamic Conditions
Underwater imagery is increasingly being used in the description of communities and habitats, as a tool to aid in the designation and management of marine protected areas. Here, we developed an underwater imagery system to monitor the seafloor and benthic communities in the Raz Blanchard (Aldernez Race), an area in the English Channel characterized by high-energy hydrodynamics. Despite the difficult conditions of acquisition, the underwater images highlighted the heterogeneous nature of the seabed in the Raz Blanchard. In this way, underwater imagery is a useful tool in providing additional information to standard benthic observations, particularly for the description of sessile epifauna and benthic landscapes. This system is flexible, robust and simple enough to be used in coastal and offshore areas, and is suitable as a complementary tool in benthic surveys to monitor the status and changing trends of seabed fauna and could be applied in future surveys.