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NF-11-01-USVI Characterization of Seafloor Habitats of the U.S. Caribbean (EK60)
The objective of this project is to collect a multibeam bathymetry dataset with 100% seafloor ensonification, along with multibeam backscatter suitable for seafloor characterization. Fishery acoustics data will be collected to characterize broad-scale fish abundance, biomass, and utilization patterns, as well as to locate and document fish spawning aggregations. Multibeam data will be collected to conform to IHO Order 1 (<100m) and Order 2 (>100m) accuracy standards. The strategies developed for each survey area will take into account the minimum depths, general bathymetry, and time allotment. The delineation and identification of seafloor habitats will be assisted by the use of a moderate-depth Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and drop camera. The vehicle has video and frame camera capability to depths of 300 meters and will be used to point sampling within areas mapped during this mission.