UNH Ocean Seminar

Enhanced Use of New Seabed Mapping Technology in the Bedford Basin Through Statistical Imputation and Machine Learning

Dr. Benjamin Misiuk
OFI International Postdoc

Department of Oceanography
Dalhousie University

Friday, Mar. 11, 2022, 3:10pm
Chase 105

Acoustic data collected by multibeam echosounders (MBES) are increasingly used for high resolution seabed mapping. The relationships between substrate properties and the acoustic response of the seafloor depends on the acoustic angle of incidence and the operating frequency of the sonar. These dependencies are often treated as confounding factors for seabed mapping, yet they can also provide increased information useful for discriminating benthic substrates or habitats. Using a multi-frequency case study from the Bedford Basin, Nova Scotia, machine learning methods are explored that enable increased utilization of MBES data collected at multiple frequencies over a range of incidence angles for seabed mapping. Multiple imputation is used to augment the angular multi-frequency MBES data, which enables accurately modelling distributions of substrate properties at a high spatial resolution. In addition to facilitating continuous spatial prediction, the high-resolution imputed angular models performed favourably compared to alternative approaches.


Originally from Massachusetts, Ben received his B/Sc/ at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, in Earth and Environmental Science, with an honours in paleolimnology. He went on to complete a Ph.D. at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in the Department of Geography, where he studied benthic habitats in coastal Arctic environments. Part of that research was on benthic habitat mapping, which has since become his primary research focus. He currently holds an OFI International Postdoc in the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he is working on benthic habitat mapping in the Northwest Atlantic region at fine and broad scales, including locations in the Bay of Fundy, eastern shore of Nova Scotia, and broader continental shelf.