In the joint industry project “New methods for mapping and monitoring of seabed habitats” in the Petromaks 2 Program, we are developing the Underwater Hyperspectral Imager (UHI) to be a viable tool for environmental mapping and monitoring. The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway and seven industry partners. Akvaplan-niva is our research partner.The project started in 2014 and has a duration of 3 years.

This far we have participated in offshore surveys with UHI in Canadian waters, the Barents Sea and Haltenbanken. Here we have mapped sponge grounds, coral reefs and influence from drilling operations on sea floor habitats. We have also participated in surveys in the high North and Arctic latitudes for mapping of coastal hard bottom fauna. Last, but not least, we are using laboratory studies to get a further insight in to the spectral properties of some of the most important species.

We are now working on the development of methods for classification of sea floor fauna. This is done by extracting their optical signatures to our spectral library and applying a set of classification algorithms. We are also working on methods for identification of drill cuttings and assessing the extent of drill cuttings on the sea floor.