RV Bombora is equipped with state-of-the art instruments that we use to generate high-resolution maps of seabed topography (bathymetry) and seafloor habitat. The maps we generate are used to:
- better understand the distribution of soft sediment and reef habitats over the seabed
- document and monitor community composition and extent of specific sandy and reef-type habitats
- model sediment transport by waves, storms, tides and currents
- help assess the effectiveness of the marine park system and zoning.
We use a combination of sonar, towed underwater cameras, sediment samplers (grabs) and other oceanographic instruments to produce habitat maps.
Video of the seabed is used to ‘ground-truth’ or validate the system and identify dominant seabed communities.
Understanding the types and distribution of sediments close to the coast enables us to model how they move on and off beaches, around headlands and along the shore. This research can then be used to predict how our coasts might change during storms such as east coast lows or into the future with rising sea levels.
So far, about 1,800 square kilometres of seabed along the New South Wales coast has been mapped using our sonar systems. Learn more about our offshore mapping research.