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Evaluation of four supervised learning methods for benthic habitat mapping using backscatter from multi-beam sonar

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by R Hasan, Daniel IerodiaconouDaniel Ierodiaconou, J Monk
An understanding of the distribution and extent of marine habitats is essential for the implementation of ecosystem-based management strategies. Historically this had been difficult in marine environments until the advancement of acoustic sensors. This study demonstrates the applicability of supervised learning techniques for benthic habitat characterization using angular backscatter response data. With the advancement of multibeam echo-sounder (MBES) technology, full coverage datasets of physical structure over vast regions of the seafloor are now achievable. Supervised learning methods typically applied to terrestrial remote sensing provide a cost-effective approach for habitat characterization in marine systems. However the comparison of the relative performance of different classifiers using acoustic data is limited. Characterization of acoustic backscatter data from MBES using four different supervised learning methods to generate benthic habitat maps is presented. Maximum Likelihood Classifier (MLC), Quick, Unbiased, Efficient Statistical Tree (QUEST), Random Forest (RF) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) were evaluated to classify angular backscatter response into habitat classes using training data acquired from underwater video observations. Results for biota classifications indicated that SVM and RF produced the highest accuracies, followed by QUEST and MLC, respectively. The most important backscatter data were from the moderate incidence angles between 30° and 50°. This study presents initial results for understanding how acoustic backscatter from MBES can be optimized for the characterization of marine benthic biological habitats. © 2012 by the authors.



Remote sensing






3427 - 3443


Molecular Diversity Preservation International


Basel, Switzerland





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal