Researchers resurvey grounding site off south shore of O`ahu

By John Rooney

Researchers from the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) recently completed a small-boat mission (SB-13-25) during which they resurveyed the grounding site of the USS Port Royal, which ran aground in February 2009 nearly 1 km south of Reef Runway off the south shore of O`ahu. At the request of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources, CRED staff members Frances Lichowski, Faith Knighton, Rhonda Suka, Jeremy Taylor, and John Rooney aboard the R/V AHI on Thursday, Jan. 9, collected acoustic data and video and still imagery of the seafloor with a Reson SeaBat 8101 multibeam echosounder and a camera sled.

The original goal of this mission also was accomplished: the team installed and conducted a patch test to calibrate the SeaBat 8101 echosounder on the R/V AHI and made sure the vessel and equipment were ready for acoustic and optical surveying around Maui in February. In addition, the team tested a new strobe light for the CRED camera sled, called “TOAD” for towed optical assessment device, under survey conditions and made adjustments to camera settings to improve the quality of still imagery collected by the sled.

The acoustic and optical data collected on Jan. 9 and during similar surveys will help fill gaps in existing data sets, enhancing their utility for spatially based management of the resources of coral reef ecosystems.

This map shows bathymetry, data on the depths and shapes of underwater terrain, from a previous survey of the grounding site of the USS Port Royal conducted with a multibeam sonar by the mapping team of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in December 2010, also at the request of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources. Bathymetry grids from both the 2010 and 2014 surveys will be compared to look for movement of rubble or other changes.

This map shows bathymetry, data on the depths and shapes of underwater terrain, from a previous survey of the grounding site of the USS Port Royal conducted with a multibeam sonar by the mapping team of the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in December 2010, also at the request of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources. Bathymetry grids from both the 2010 and 2014 surveys will be compared to look for movement of rubble or other changes.

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