|Title:||BioSonar (EU project MA53-CT95-0026)|
|Abstract||Monitoring of typical benthic communities and quantification of their living conditions is an important tool for establishing and maintaining knowledge about marine environments. The health of benthic communities is closely influenced by environmental impacts due to human activities in coastal areas, and many benthic communities have central roles in their ecosystems. In Northern Europe this applies to e.g. common mussels (Mytilus edulis) and in the Mediterranean to e.g. neptune grass (Posidonia oceanica). The neptune grass medows and the common mussel beds play vital roles in favouring biological diversity in the marine ecosystems. Benthis communities are good environmental impact indicators as they respond in well-understood ways, and are important for the sustainability of their ecosystems. The priorities for protection of the environment are strengthened in these years, and the demands for information at higher resolution scales are continually rising. Thus, it is vital to develop methods and technology dedicated to deliver high resolution information on the health of the environment, in particular the difficult observable conditions at sea. The overall aim of the BIOSONAR project is to sontribute to the development of technologies and methodologies for use of acoustic equipment in monitoring of biological communities at the sea floor. The project is considered a step towards a larger goal comprising development of equipment and data processing algorithms dedicated to produce sonar pictures of larger sea bottom areas on a level equivalent to current earth observation technology.
The expected results of the project will be a validated methodology for estimation of distribution of benthic communities based on sonar monitoring.|