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ECOMAP: Verbundprojekt: ECOMAP - Fernerkundung, Kartierung und Monitoring küstennaher Schlüsselhabitate der Ostsee; Vorhaben: BENTHOS - Detektion benthischer Organismen mit akustischen und optischen Methoden

The EU program BONUS will fund our project ECOMAP (start 1st of September 2017). The goal of ECOMAP is to develop innovative methods for improved remote sensing of the seafloor in the Baltic Sea, especially addressing the physical impact of benthic life on the sensing procedures. We propose new measurement techniques and a catalogue detailing new procedures on how to implement remote sensing methods for selected habitats. Our objectives are (1) to test the feasibility of adapted shallow seismics, modern hydroacoustics, customized in situ laser methods and state-of-the-art airborne lidar to remotely sense habitats such as seagrass meadows, reef-building macrofauna and stone reefs, as well as shallow gas areas, which are all indicators of ecosystem diversity and health, (2) to develop and merit full waveform analyses for both, SoNAR and LiDAR, (3) to increase the available data dimension by multi-frequency and multi-angle approaches, (4) to develop algorithms and computer machine learning tools to investigate benthic life (5) to develop ground-truthing, calibration and in situ methods to investigate the relation between opto-acoustic facies and marine habitats, and determine the natural variation of the seabed. ECOMAP will highly contribute to better understand linkages between opto-acoustic and biological facies and geological models, and will provide a more comprehensive and holistic view on the seafloor. The project will deliver case studies valuable for the emerging market of environmental monitoring and spatial planning, and will support companies and stakeholders to recognize assets and drawbacks of latest technology.


  • Zettler, M. L. and A. Darr (2023). Benthic Habitats and Their Inhabitants. In: Southern Baltic Coastal Systems Analysis. Ed. by H. Schubert and F. Müller. Cham: Springer International Publishing (Ecological Studies, Analysis and Synthesis ; 246): 97-102, doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-13682-5_8
  • Gogina, M. and M. L. Zettler (2023). Ecological Structure in Benthic Habitats of Offshore Waters. In: Southern Baltic Coastal Systems Analysis. Ed. by H. Schubert and F. Müller. Cham: Springer International Publishing (Ecological Studies, Analysis and Synthesis ; 246): 141-145, doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-13682-5_14
  • Schulze, I., M. Gogina, M. Schönke, M. L. Zettler and P. Feldens  (2022). Seasonal change of multifrequency backscatter in three Baltic Sea habitats. Frontiers in Remote Sensing 3: 956994, doi: 10.3389/frsen.2022.956994
  • Schneider von Deimling, J. and P. Feldens (2021). ECOMAP: Habitatkartierung mittels innovativer optischer und akustischer Fernerkundungs- und Auswerteverfahren. Hydrogr. Nachrichten, 120: 14-22, doi: 10.23784/HN120-02
  • Gogina, M., M. L. Zettler, J. Vanaverbeke, J. Dannheim, G. Van Hoey, N. Desroy, A. Wrede, H. Reiss, S. Degraer, V. Van Lancker, A. Foveau, U. Braeckman, D. Fiorentino, J. Holstein and S. N. R. Birchenough (2020). Interregional comparison of benthic ecosystem functioning: Community bioturbation potential in four regions along the NE Atlantic shelf. Ecol. Indic. 110: 105945, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105945
  • Schönke, M., L. Wiesenberg, I. Schulze, D. Wilken, A. Darr, S. Papenmeier and P. Feldens (2019). Impact of sparse benthic life on seafloor roughness and high-frequency acoustic scatter. Geosciences 9: 454, doi: 10.3390/geosciences9100454
  • Feldens, P., A. Darr, A. Feldens and F. Tauber (2019). Detection of boulders in side scan sonar mosaics by a neural network. Geosciences 9: 159, doi: 10.3390/geosciences9040159
  • Feldens, P., I. Schulze, S. Papenmeier, M. Schönke and J. Schneider von Deimling (2018). Improved interpretation of marine sedimentary environments using multi-frequency multibeam backscatter data. Geosciences 8: 214, doi: 10.3390/geosciences8060214
  • Feldens, P. (2017). Sensitivity of Texture Parameters to Acoustic Incidence Angle in Multibeam Backscatter. IEEE Geosci. Remote Sens. Lett. 14, 12: 2215-2219, doi: 10.1109/LGRS.2017.2756258