Seagrass habitat suitability model for Redang Marine Park using multibeam echosounder data: Testing different spatial resolutions and analysis window sizes

Muhammad Abdul Hakim Muhamad, Rozaimi Che Hasan, Najhan Md Said, Jillian Lean-Sim Ooi, Vincent Lecours
<span title="2021-09-23">2021</span> <i title="Public Library of Science (PLoS)"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">PLoS ONE</a> </i> &nbsp;
Integrating Multibeam Echosounder (MBES) data (bathymetry and backscatter) and underwater video technology allows scientists to study marine habitats. However, use of such data in modeling suitable seagrass habitats in Malaysian coastal waters is still limited. This study tested multiple spatial resolutions (1 and 50 m) and analysis window sizes (3 × 3, 9 × 9, and 21 × 21 cells) probably suitable for seagrass-habitat relationships in Redang Marine Park, Terengganu, Malaysia. A maximum entropy
more &raquo; ... gorithm was applied, using 12 bathymetric and backscatter predictors to develop a total of 6 seagrass habitat suitability models. The results indicated that both fine and coarse spatial resolution datasets could produce models with high accuracy (>90%). However, the models derived from the coarser resolution dataset displayed inconsistent habitat suitability maps for different analysis window sizes. In contrast, habitat models derived from the fine resolution dataset exhibited similar habitat distribution patterns for three different analysis window sizes. Bathymetry was found to be the most influential predictor in all the models. The backscatter predictors, such as angular range analysis inversion parameters (characterization and grain size), gray-level co-occurrence texture predictors, and backscatter intensity levels, were more important for coarse resolution models. Areas of highest habitat suitability for seagrass were predicted to be in shallower (<20 m) waters and scattered between fringing reefs (east to south). Some fragmented, highly suitable habitats were also identified in the shallower (<20 m) areas in the northwest of the prediction models and scattered between fringing reefs. This study highlighted the importance of investigating the suitable spatial resolution and analysis window size of predictors from MBES for modeling suitable seagrass habitats. The findings provide important insight on the use of remote acoustic sonar data to study and map seagrass distribution in Malaysia coastal water.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0257761</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmid:34555110</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">pmcid:PMC8459946</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:7hms4wdvezd2na5rieaxpfooxm</a> </span>
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