Side-scan sonar imaging of subtidal benthic habitats in the Mullica River-Great Bay estuarine system

Michael J. Kennish, Scott M. Haag, Gregg P. Sakowicz, Richard A. Tidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Side-scan sonar imaging conducted in Great Bay, New Jersey, during August 2003 reveals local variations in acoustic backscatter from the seabed that can be related to small-, medium-, and large-scale bedforms. Analysis of 600-kilohertz side-scan sonar data collected at a System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) survey site of the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve shows a relationship between backscatter intensity, bathymetry, and changing seabed morphology. Side-scan sonar records obtained at the survey site in Great Bay via deployment of an autonomous underwater vehicle (Remote Environmental Monitoring UnitS) provide in-depth characterization of an array of complex and multiscaled bedforms and associated benthic habitats. Bedforms documented within the swath map region by side-scan sonar imaging include constructive transverse forms, notably ripples, dunes, and sand waves. These bedforms are valuable for assessing potentially important habitats for benthic invertebrate and demersal finfish populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-240
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue numberSPEC. ISS. 45
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


  • Backscatter
  • Bedforms
  • Estuarine floor
  • Great Bay
  • Imaging
  • Side-scan sonar

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