Delineating the habitat of demersal fish assemblages with acoustic seabed technologies

Jeroen Van der Kooij, Sven Kupschus, Beth Emily Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Habitats influence species distribution and, although the seabed is an important habitat factor for demersal species, traditional sampling methods often provide no practical solution to investigating the seabed over large areas. The ability of a multivariate method that utilizes single-beam acoustic seabed data combined with species composition data to define demersal fish habitats was tested. The best model explained 19.4% of the variance observed in the species data and was robust between years. Ten biotopes were identified, each containing species that, either alone or in combination with others, were indicative of that biotope. Using unclassified acoustic seabed data as explanatory variables, discrepancies between the numbers of acoustically distinct classes and species assemblages, as previously reported in the literature, were avoided, while utilizing their relationship with community structure. The study focused on the relationship between simultaneously recorded species composition and seabed data from fishing stations, but because continuous acoustic data along the survey tracks were available between stations, the model could be used to predict the spatial extent of the biotopes. Although the method was developed with the eventual aim of providing a meaningful foundation to the spatial management of mixed fisheries, it could also contribute to applications in spatial planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1973-1985
Number of pages13
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number9
Early online date8 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


  • acoustic ground-discrimination systems (AGDS)
  • beam trawl
  • canonical correspondence analysis
  • fisheries spatial management
  • QTC View (TM)
  • stratified random survey
  • canonical correspondence-analysis
  • single-beam echosounder
  • Central English-Channel
  • Eastern Bering-Sea
  • classification-system
  • Continental-Shelf
  • marine habitats
  • sidescan sonar
  • distributions
  • performance


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