School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


Integrating ecological knowledge and multi-resolution datasets of seabed areas to improve information on benthic habitats for Marine Protected Area planning

The project aims to use novel object based image analysis (OBIA) techniques to integrate existing remotely sensed multi-resolution seabed datasets (e.g. acoustic, lidar) and ecological knowledge into baseline maps, and develop monitoring protocols through the development and use of predictive tools in conjunction with ground truth surveys. This will improve information on benthic habitats and biodiversity in proposed Northumberland marine conservation zones (MCZs) and underpin effective future monitoring and management of the marine environment. Development of a predictive tool based on existing datasets and construction of a rule-based predictive model in the e-cognition software package, is guided by the SME-consultancy Environment Systems. OBIA classification will maximise the utility of the fragmented dataset. Layers of high (geophysical, geological, hydrological and biological) and lower resolution data are integrated to enable the development an OBIA rule base that may permit inferences to extend to data poor areas. Such data are available for discreet zones within the proposed study area: the Berwickshire and North Northumberland coast (BNNC) Special Area of Conservation (SAC).