Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) mapping reveals coral mound distribution, morphology, and oceanography in deep water of the Straits of Florida

Mark Grasmueck, Gregor P Eberli, David A. Viggiano, Thiago Correa, Glenda Rathwell, Jiangang Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To make progress in understanding the distribution and genesis of coral mounds in cold and dark water, maps of morphology and oceanographic conditions resolving features at the 1-10 m scale are needed. An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) cruising 40 m above the seafloor surveyed a 48 km2 coral mound field in 600-800 m water depth at the base of slope of Great Bahama Bank. The AUV acquired 1-3 meter resolution acoustic backscatter and bathymetry together with current vectors, salinity, and temperature. The multibeam bathymetry resolved more than 200 coral mounds reaching up to 90 m height. Mound morphology is surprisingly diverse and mound distribution follows E-W oriented off-bank ridges., Bottom currents reverse every 6 hours indicating tidal flow decoupled from the north flowing surface current. The AUV data fill the gap between low-resolution surface-based mapping and visual observations on the seafloor, revealing the dynamic environment and spatial relationships of an entire coral mound field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL23616
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume33
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 16 2006

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underwater vehicles
oceanography
straits
autonomous underwater vehicle
deep water
strait
coral
bathymeters
Bahamas
bathymetry
cold water
visual observation
seafloor
vector currents
water depth
salinity
ridges
bottom current
backscatter
slopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) mapping reveals coral mound distribution, morphology, and oceanography in deep water of the Straits of Florida. / Grasmueck, Mark; Eberli, Gregor P; Viggiano, David A.; Correa, Thiago; Rathwell, Glenda; Luo, Jiangang.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, No. 23, L23616, 16.12.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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