The Seafloor Mapping Program uses state-of-the-art acoustic instruments to conduct vessel-based shallow water surveys. A bow-mounted, dual frequency phase-measuring sidescan sonar collects coincident bathymetry (540 kHz) and acoustic backscatter imagery (540 kHz, 1600 kHz).
This allows investigators to conduct scientific research, map benthic habitats and locate marine debris, in nearshore, shallow water settings.
The Center also uses a traditional towed sidescan sonar, which also has dual frequencies (600/1600 kHz). This instrument is very useful as it operates at high-frequencies and because it is towed can be used onboard any vessel of opportunity. Recently it was used onboard several lobster boats to locate, identify and retrieve derelict fishing gear.