A report on Summer School

A Guest at IOW – Location is everything

18 participants from academia, authorities, and industry followed the invitation to the 1st BONUS EcoMap Summer school, which took place from 03 Sept – 07 Sept 2018 at the Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde (IOW). Host Dr. Peter Feldens and project coordinator Dr. Jens Schneider von Deimling (CAU) were particularly happy to welcome a highly diverse group of surveyors, hydrographers, technical operators, geophysicists, and geologists from ten different countries at the Institute’s assembly hall only in spitting distance from the beach and the shoreline of the Baltic Sea.

What goes around, comes around

Throughout the various lectures held over the week, the participants were introduced to the principles of hydroacoustic mapping, where sound and its physical properties are used to gain insights into the structure and morphology of the seafloor and the underlying sediment as well as the flora and fauna living within and on top of the seabed. Special attention was also drawn to the importance of hydroacoustics and the wide range of application, as well as all the steps required for conducting a successful survey, including acquisition and subsequent processing of the data. These rather theoretical insights were always followed by practical hands-on sessions starting with collecting multibeam echosounder data using an NORBIT iWBMS system on board the IOW’s survey barque Klaashahn. Here, the “hands-on” part had to be taken quite literally as all hands and the people attached to them had to find some spot on the boat to hold on to as the wind freshened up during the sunny and lovely day and caused the small catamaran to dance over the incoming waves.

Backscatter? I think I have a script for that…

Following this rather rocky introduction at sea, all further processing steps were performed back in warm and well-catered rooms at the IOW. Here, the participants learned that the recorded sound echo from the seabed cannot only be used to derive the bathymetry, but also contains information about the composition of the seabed itself. However, in order to arrive at a satisfying result the data need to be edited and processed for which the user can choose from a range of different software packages all with their own strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the QPS Software Suite, data processing exercises focused on non-commercial, script-based open-source solutions for mainly two reasons: To introduce the participants to some alternatives to the well-established processing tools and to impart more in-depth knowledge about signal processing itself and the numerous applications of designing your own processing script.

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet

Despite the one quite windy afternoon the weather was warm and sunny during the whole week, which amongst other things resulted in a small icebreaker beach party on one evening. Enjoying the local cuisine and beer, people got to know each other better and after five intense days of lectures, studying and working together 18 participants from all over the world left the IOW and Warnemünde again, with fresh impressions and knowledge about hydroacoustics but also having met new friends and possible future collaborations.

Home countries of the participants.