Acoustic and Optical Surveys Conducted off the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island

Towed optical assessment device (TOAD).
Towed optical assessment device (TOAD).

From June 17 to July 5, the mapping team of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division completed acoustic and optical surveys off the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawaii, in the area from Pelekane Bay to Anaeho‘omalu Bay. Working aboard the NOAA R/V AHI, a 25-ft vessel designed for seabed mapping in nearshore habitats, researchers completed 30 operations using a towed optical assessment device (TOAD), with tows varying in length from 233 to 1366 meters. In all, 22.2 kilometers of the seabed were surveyed. Bathymetric data were collected using multibeam sonar with the goal of attaining complete coverage of the seafloor along the Kohala Coast.

The research mission was part of a project funded by NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program. It provided results useful to several partners. In particular, it supported interests of the state of Hawai‘i, which identified the Kohala Coast area between Anaeho‘omalu and Puakō as one of two high-priority sites. The bathymetry and backscatter data collected during the surveys will be incorporated into syntheses of seafloor information that are developed and maintained by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and made available to any interested users.