Acoustic Methods for Mapping and Characterizing Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Using a Multi-Beam Echosounder

Ashley Norton
Ph.D. Dissertation Defense


Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, 3:10pm
Chase 130

Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), including eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) and kelp species, is an important component of many temperate global coastal ecosystems. SAV monitoring programs using optical remote sensing are limited by water clarity and attenuation with depth. Here we use underwater acoustics to analyze the water volume above the bottom to detect, map and characterize SAV. This dissertation develops and applies new methods for analyzing the full time series of acoustic intensity data (e.g., water column data) collected by a multi-beam echosounder.


Ashley Norton graduated from Stony Brook University with a B.S. in marine science, and went on to get an M.S. in geology from the University of Delaware. During her master’s, she worked on the ongoing seafloor mapping project at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS), which uses a phase-measuring bathymetric sonar to map the nearshore areas of Outer Cape Cod. Some of these data were used to complete her thesis at the University of Delaware, which focused on mapping eelgrass and bedforms in Cape Cod Bay. Ashley’s research at CCOM/JHC focused on developing acoustic methods for discerning and describing eelgrass beds in Great Bay.