Needless to say, aquatic resource managers and researchers have lagged behind our landlubber counterparts in understanding how aquatic organisms relate to "aquascapes." Fisheries biologists have long dropped their nets into an abyss and magically, fish appeared when they pulled them up the next day. Or, a rake/grapple thrown from a boat at a handful of transects or sampling points was the extent of the sophistication that biologists used to characterize plant growth in the littoral zone of lakes. Biologists and researchers through the years have grown quite skilled at developing fancy statistical models to make sense of these messy, imprecise data.
Technology is now cleaning up the messiness of aquatic resource data and bringing in a new level of intuitive sophistication and precision. Advancements in consumer sonar like Lowrance HDS with StructureScan give the researcher an ultra-sound-like picture of the environment they are studying in a small, rugged, and affordable package.
|DownScan Imagery of small sunfish hovering over Eurasian watermilfoil plants in Prior Lake, MN as viewed in the ciBioBase Trip Viewer|
Finally, third party spatial analysis and visualization platforms like those powered by ESRI (e.g., ArcGIS and associated plug-ins, ArcScene, etc) can take your BioBase datasets to the next level by opening up a wide range of advanced analysis and visualization tools. For instance in the two embedded videos, we demonstrate two outputs derived from the Lowrance HDS -> ciBioBase -> GIS chain of analysis that give the aquatic researcher/manager a birds-eye view of the environment they are managing. GIS for the aquatic researcher is now more than putting dots on a map. Time to play some catch up...
YouTube demo of ESRI ArcScene Fly Through of the North Umpqua River upstream to Lake Lemolo in West Central Oregon. Digital Elevation Data were obtained from the USGS National Map Viewer and Lemolo Bathymetric data were collected with Lowrance HDS by Joe Eilers, MaxDepth Aquatics Inc. Bend, OR and processed through ciBioBase.