MBES Water Column data can be used to explore aspects of the marine environment between the ocean surface and the sea floor. This can include gas bubbles, biology, fish shoals and physical processes within the ocean such as internal waves, sediment plums and many more. When an acoustic wave interacts with one of these water column features, the acoustic field is changed and such changes are recorded by the MBES system. For example, we can visualise the Mesopelagic Layer (pictured above), a dense layer of planktonic and mesopelagic creatures with a huge combined biomass, within the ocean.
Water column data are also particularly useful during shipwreck surveys. The INFOMAR team can extract additional information about the shipwreck structure, in particular masts and railings which could be missed by a less sensitive multibeam survey. Masts are particularly important because they often represent the shallowest point of a shipwreck and thus a possible navigation hazard.
The SS Tiberia with mast clearly visible.
INFOMAR delivers three key datasets Bathymetry (or Water depth), Acoustic Backscatter and Water Column Data.