Measurement of Seafloor Acoustic Backscatter Angular Dependence at 150 kHz Using a Multibeam Echosounder

Acoustic seafloor measurements with multibeam echosounders (MBESs) are currently often used for submarine habitat mapping, but the MBESs are usually not acoustically calibrated for backscattering strength (BBS) and cannot be used to infer absolute seafloor angular dependence. We present a study outlining the calibration and showing absolute backscattering strength values measured at a frequency of 150 kHz at around 10–20 m water depth. After recording bathymetry, the co-registered backscattering strength was corrected for true incidence and footprint reverberation area on a rough and tilted seafloor. Finally, absolute backscattering strength angular response curves (ARCs) for several seafloor types were constructed after applying sonar backscattering strength calibration and specific water column absorption for 150 kHz correction. Thus, we inferred specific 150 kHz angular backscattering responses that can discriminate among very fine sand, sandy gravel, and gravelly sand, as well as between bare boulders and boulders partially overgrown by red algae, which was validated by video ground-truthing. In addition, we provide backscatter mosaics using our algorithm (BBS-Coder) to correct the angle varying gain (AVG). The results of the work are compared and discussed with the published results of BBS measurements in the 100–400 kHz frequency range. The presented results are valuable in extending the very sparse angular response curves gathered so far and could contribute to a better understanding of the dependence of backscattering on the type of bottom habitat and improve their acoustic classification


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