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Mapping of Biotopes and Habitats using Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS and Terrestrial Laser Scanning

Aquatonics Ltd have worked with specialist land surveyors Merrett Survey Partnership to accurately map biotope boundaries using Real Time Kinematic GPS and terrestrial laser scanning. The laser scanning method has many advantages over conventional survey methods:

  • High resolution mapping of complex boundaries
  • Ability to decide post-survey what level of accuracy is required on maps
  • Reproducible results for plans and heights to within 2 cm
  • Users can produce cross sections to measure the height of vegetation, e.g. saltmarsh plants such as Spartina and Salicornia
  • Accurate digital terrain models which can be used to examine changes in erosion and deposition
  • Data are useful for assessing changes due to nearby dredging, or changes due to sea-level rise

    Terrestrial laser scan data can be used as an effective monitoring and management tool for a wide variety of ecological and hydrological surveys, e.g. flood plain mapping. The main advantages of terrestrial laser scanning over alternatives such as airborne LiDAR or photogrammetry are increased accuracy of the data and smaller costs.

    Mapping Estuarine and Marine Intertidal and Subtidal Biotopes

    We have done a large number of biotope mapping surveys of estuaries and marine habitats:

    Lundy sedimentary biotopes Working with Ambios, we have mapped in detail the sedimentary biotopes around Lundy. The results have been published and are available here.

    Lyme Bay Aquatonics Ltd worked with Devon Wildlife Trust and Ambios Ltd to map sedimentary benthic biotopes in Lyme Bay using grab sampling. Work was also undertaken by Marine Bio-Images to assess hard substrate communities. Click here for photos from the survey.

    Lyme Regis Aquatonics Ltd carried out biotope assessment and mapping of intertidal habitats on the eastern part of Lyme Regis, as part of the ecological impact assessment of Phase IV of the sea defence programme.

    Lamlash Bay, Arran Aquatonics worked with Marine Bio-images to map the benthic communities at Lamlash Bay, inside and outside the No Take Zone.

    Salcombe estuary Aquatonics Ltd and Marine Bio-images have mapped the intertidal and subtidal biotopes in part of Salcombe harbour. Detailed assessment of the flora and fauna of the seagrass (Zostera marina) bed was undertaken by Aquatonics.

    Biotope mapping of sandy litoral habitats Aquatonics Ltd have provided on-site training to Natural England and Cornwall Wildlife Trust staff who wanted to be able to map sandy littoral habitats in the field, without taking core samples.

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