Using remotely operated vehicles to characterize habitat at a large scale

Our Director for Research, Dr. Damian Brady published a paper along with Dr. Robert Steneck and former graduate student, Jennifer McHenry (lead author) titled, Abiotic proxies for predictive mapping of near-shore benthic assemblages: Implications for marine spatial planning. In this paper researchers identified important habitat variables and spatial gradients that correlate with abundance, diversity, and commercial value of species assemblages in the Gulf of Maine using a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV). Using an ROV allowed researchers to survey benthic habitat in the summer. This activity is nearly impossible using traditional methods like trawling due to the abundance of lobster fishing gear in the water. Dr. Robert Steneck has a current Sea Grant project, DV-16-13 Assessing the ecological and economic impacts of Chondrus crispus: the rise of Maine’s new foundation species.