Implementation of an automated workflow for image-based seafloor classification with examples from manganese-nodule covered seabed areas in the Central Pacific Ocean.

Mbani, Benson, Schoening, Timm , Gazis, Iason Zois, Koch, Reinhard and Greinert, Jens (2022) Implementation of an automated workflow for image-based seafloor classification with examples from manganese-nodule covered seabed areas in the Central Pacific Ocean. Open Access Scientific Reports, 12 . Art.Nr. 15338 (2022). DOI 10.1038/s41598-022-19070-2.

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Abstract

Mapping and monitoring of seafloor habitats are key tasks for fully understanding ocean ecosystems and resilience, which contributes towards sustainable use of ocean resources. Habitat mapping relies on seafloor classification typically based on acoustic methods, and ground truthing through direct sampling and optical imaging. With the increasing capabilities to record high-resolution underwater images, manual approaches for analyzing these images to create seafloor classifications are no longer feasible. Automated workflows have been proposed as a solution, in which algorithms assign pre-defined seafloor categories to each image. However, in order to provide consistent and repeatable analysis, these automated workflows need to address e.g., underwater illumination artefacts, variances in resolution and class-imbalances, which could bias the classification. Here, we present a generic implementation of an Automated and Integrated Seafloor Classification Workflow (AI-SCW). The workflow aims to classify the seafloor into habitat categories based on automated analysis of optical underwater images with only minimal amount of human annotations. AI-SCW incorporates laser point detection for scale determination and color normalization. It further includes semi-automatic generation of the training data set for fitting the seafloor classifier. As a case study, we applied the workflow to an example seafloor image dataset from the Belgian and German contract areas for Manganese-nodule exploration in the Pacific Ocean. Based on this, we provide seafloor classifications along the camera deployment tracks, and discuss results in the context of seafloor multibeam bathymetry. Our results show that the seafloor in the Belgian area predominantly comprises densely distributed nodules, which are intermingled with qualitatively larger-sized nodules at local elevations and within depressions. On the other hand, the German area primarily comprises nodules that only partly cover the seabed, and these occur alongside turned-over sediment (artificial seafloor) that were caused by the settling plume following a dredging experiment conducted in the area.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Underwater image analysis, ocean floor observation system (OFOS), seafloor classification, supervised image classification, unsupervised image classification, Clarion-Clipperton Zone, Manganese nodules
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems > DeepSea Monitoring
Kiel University
Corresponding Author:
Corresponding Author Name
GEOMAR ID
Affiliation
Mbani, Benson
Mbani, Benson
FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Main POF Topic: PT6: Marine Life
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Nature Research
Related URLs:
Projects: JPIO-MiningImpact, MarDATA
Contribution Number:
Project
Number
DSM
54
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2022 08:00
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2022 14:14
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/57040

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