Tuesday, 14 February 2012

What will happen to all the data we are collecting?

At the end of this cruise we will have collected a huge amount of samples and data which will need to be processed into a usable form.
  • Benthic ecologists will examine the grab samples using microscopes to identify the different species of marine animals found in the sediment at each survey station. Sediment samples will be examined using particle size analysis, which uses lasers to determine the precise size of particles in the sediment. The information about particle size is used to help define the habitat type.
  • The video and stills from the camera tows will also be analysed to identify the marine life and the physical nature of the seabed at each survey station, in particular the broadscale habitats and features of conservation importance (for a list of MCZ features see here).
  • The multibeam data will be processed using computer software in order to present the bathymetric data in a useful format.
It is important that all of the processed data are labelled with accurate metadata which gives details such as date of the survey and methods used. The format of the metadata is specified by MEDIN (see website).

The processed data will be used to create maps of each survey area which will include information on bathymetry, sediment types, and distribution of biological habitat types.