An evaluation of deep-sea benthic megafauna length measurements obtained with laser and stereo camera methods

Dunlop, Katherine M.; Kuhnz, Linda A.; Ruhl, Henry A.; Huffard, Christine L.; Caress, David W.; Henthorn, Richard G.; Hobson, Brett W.; McGill, Paul; Smith, Kenneth L.. 2015 An evaluation of deep-sea benthic megafauna length measurements obtained with laser and stereo camera methods. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 96. 38-48.

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The 25 year time-series collected at Station M, ~4000 m on the Monterey Deep-sea Fan, has substantially improved understanding of the role of the deep-ocean benthic environment in the global carbon cycle. However, the role of deep-ocean benthic megafauna in carbon bioturbation, remineralization and sequestration is relatively unknown. It is important to gather both accurate and precise measurements of megafaunal community abundance, size distribution and biomass to further define their role in deep-sea carbon cycling and possible sequestration. This study describes initial results from a stereo camera system attached to a remotely operated vehicle and analyzed using the EventMeasure photogrammetric measurement software to estimate the density, length and biomass of 10 species of mobile epibenthic megafauna. Stereo length estimates were compared to those from a single video camera system equipped with sizing lasers and analyzed using the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s Video Annotation and Reference System. Both camera systems and software were capable of high measurement accuracy and precision (<±1 mm measurement error and precision). However, the oblique angle of the single video camera caused the spatial scale of the image perspective to change with distance from the camera, resulting in error when measurements were not parallel or vertical to two horizontal-oriented scaling lasers. Analysis showed that the stereo system recorded longer lengths and higher biomass estimates than the single video camera system for the majority of the 10 megafauna species studied. The stereo image analysis process took substantially longer than the video analysis and the value of the EventMeasure software tool would be improved with developments in analysis automation. The stereo system is less influenced by object orientation and height, and is potentially a useful tool to be mounted on an autonomous underwater vehicle and for measuring deep-sea pelagic animals where the use of lasers is not feasible.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09670637
Additional Keywords: Deep-sea megafauna; Benthic communities; Stereo camera; Biomass
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 19 Feb 2015 10:59 +0 (UTC)

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