Researchers Study Ecological Role of North Carolina Shipwrecks and Reefs


Shipwrecks and rocky reefs off the coast of North Carolina are home to commercially and recreationally important fish.

Scientists with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science are researching how and when fish use these artificial and natural reefs. In the fall of 2019, aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, the researchers used advanced technologies to study how these reefs function as habitat.

The team used two kinds of sonar (located on the hull of the Foster) to send sound pulses into the water that reflect off fish and the seafloor and return to the sounding device to be recorded. The multibeam echosounder registers the depth and physical properties of the reefs. The splitbeam echosounder provides imagery that helps identify the size of fish and the location of fish relative to the reefs.

Sonar gave the team the big picture, but for the details, the team had to go diving.

Continue reading at National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Image via National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science