Aquatic Plant Research > Scientific Data on Aquatic Plant Communities > Other Observation Methods > Hydroacoustics
Aquatic Plant Research
Commercial products for mapping submersed vegetation may be useful in monitoring aquatic plants or to construct lake bathymetric maps. Science Services is working with our partners to explore emerging applications of this technology.
Aquatic plant managers and fisheries staff wanted to know if hydroacoustic mapping technology could be used to assess the overall aquatic plant community of lakes and rivers, as well as to update outdated bathymetric lake maps. This prompted the Bureaus of Water Quality and Fisheries Management to ask DNR Science Services to investigate its potential uses. Hydroacoustic mapping can be used for general habitat mapping (plant height and biovolume, substrate, water depth) and for assessing plant biovolume changes over time. Characterizing the physical structure of the aquatic plant community helps managers understand changes observed over time and make general comparisons among lakes. This technology could be a useful Tier 1 tool to identify lakes that have less (or more) vegetation than expected based on similar lakes, but may have limited accuracy in very dense mats of vegetation, soft substrate or shallow water. This mapping technology has the ability to augment baseline point-intercept (PI) survey techniques to better understand lake and plant biovolume metrics. Use of this technology may also be appropriate on very large waterbodies where species diversity is low, or where conducting a point-intercept survey may not be practical or feasible.