SeaBee shines at GeoHab 2024

SeaBee Research Infrastructure team members proudly presented at the international GeoHab Conference 2024 (6th – 10th May) in Arendal, Norway.

SeaBee contributed four presentations, and was mentioned in the keynote by Terje Thorsnes (NGU) on marine habitat mapping programs in Norway.    

Kristina Kvile (NIVA) presented the latest news on drones, updated methods and protocols for marine habitat mapping. She shared how habitats are classified and how drones can be used to identify marine vegetation at various hierarchical levels ranging from habitat classes to species level using high-resolution multispectral sensors and AI classification tools.

Collecting direct observations from the ground and boat (above) and the possible resolutions of collected data. Photos from K. Kvile (NIVA).

Håvard Løvas (NTNU) told the audience about hyperspectral solutions for detailed identification of shallow-water species and objects with distinct optical ‘fingerprints’.

Hyperspectral imaging is a novel, powerful tool for coastal drone mapping. You can characterise water quality, classify bottom substrates, and identify simple species based on their optical characteristics. However, interpretating images of underwater features and species is challenging, thus careful, systematic data handling and calibration routines are essential to achieve good results.  

Øyvind Tangen Ødegaard (NIVA) described how to tame a surface drone (Otter Pro USV), and how its sophisticated on-board optical  and acoustic sensors can support the information from flying drones to produce even better maps and classifications of seafloor species and features.

The SeaBee Otter operates with a high-accuracy positioning system (better than 2-3 cm on measured data) which enables precise georeferencing of collected data – be it underwater photo and video,  acoustic data of the seafloor or optical data of the water quality. 

Views of how the SeaBee Otter is handled in the field. Photo by Ø. Odegaard (NIVA).

Kasper Hancke (NIVA) evaluated the use of drones and artificial intelligence for kelp forest and seagrass mapping, highlighting the main advantages of SeaBee Research Infrastructure as well: 

– Drones with RGB and MSI sensors combined are powerful tools for high resolution mapping and monitoring of coastal habitats and species 
– Artificial Intelligence models are a powerful method for classifying benthic habitats and are cost-effective
– High resolution habitat maps are essential for coastal carbon accounting and more sustainable management and for guiding marine preservation and restoration initiatives. 

Great days of science and exciting discussions. Thank you to the organizing committee! – Kasper Hancke, SeaBee project coordinator

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