Acoustic Backscatter Imagery
The imagery, collected simultaneously with acoustic bathymetry, is a gray-scale raster of the strength of the acoustic echo returned from the seabed. These data show the location and distribution of different substrate types and can serve as the source data for benthic mapping efforts and a guide for point sampling efforts (cores and grabs). This imagery can also show the location and distribution of living communities such as seagrass meadows, shellfish beds, and coral reefs. Acoustic backscatter is ideal for shallow subtidal areas in turbid water systems that are not well captured by optical methods. Side-scan sonar systems in particular are well suited for mapping in very shallow areas.