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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Using Side-scan Sonar to Classify River Aquatic Habitat

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AUTHORS: Jerrod Parker, Illinois Natural History Survey; John Epifanio, Illinois Natural History Survey; Yong Cao, Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Physical habitat plays an essential role in structuring biological assemblages. Characterizing aquatic habitats at different scales for analyses can be challenging, especially in non-wadeable rivers. We collected near-shore fish assemblage data for the Illinois portion of the Kankakee River at 25 fixed locations using standardized boat electrofishing three times annually from 2013 to 2015. A diversity of fishes (17 families and 91 species) were collected during surveys. We hypothesized that the high fish diversity was partially attributable to a diversity of physical habitats. In the spring of 2015 a Hummingbird 999ci HD with bow mounted transducer was used to capture side-scan sonar video of the Illinois portion of the Kankakee River. One pass was made in a downstream direction along each shoreline of the river, resulting in 173km of data. SonarTRX software (Leraand Engineering Inc.) was used to convert video files into rasterized images. Mosaic datasets were created in ArcMap 10.3 and used to stitch rasters together into continuous images. Ground-truthing was conducted at 85 locations in the Fall of 2015 using substrate hand grabs to classify percentages of bedrock, boulder, rubble/cobble, gravel, sand, silt, clay, and detritus within one-meter transects. Then benthic substrate types and other components of physical structure (e.g. macrophyte beds and large woody debris) were manually classified using the mosaic images. We found significant differences in the substrate composition of the river including large zones of sand, gravel beds, exposed bedrock, and areas of silt accumulation. Multivariate approaches were used to assess the strength of relationships among fish assemblage structure and physical habitat characteristics at different spatial scales.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (3)