Spying the seafloor

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
Sediment Profile Imagery (SPI) provides an in situ view of the sediment-water interface. Typically as much as 15 to 20 cm from the sediment surface is photographed, providing both quantitative and qualitative data on the biological, chemical and physical character of the sediments. This sampling technique minimizes disturbance of the seabed and offers a quick scan method to study biodiversity as well as biological (e.g. animal burrows) and physical (e.g. sediment layering) features. In Belgian waters, this information is classically examined by grab or core sampling, and only quite recently a SPI camera is available to the research community. In this thesis, we want to link the information collected by SPI images to ground truth data collected by a Van Veen grab in different impact areas (sand extraction and dredge disposal) on the Belgian part of the North Sea. As such, we hope to find a quick method to determine the bioturbation potential (an indicator in the MSFD to assess good environmental status) of an impact area by just using a SPI.
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Gert Van Hoey, Annelies De Backer
Reference Number: RP-47411