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Ecologists mapping the bottom of the Marine Sanctuary



ALPENA, Mich.—These deep water divers work for the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. They swim through our lakes capturing images and sounds. Those define the characteristics of the lake bottom wild life. 

When diving down in our lakes the ecologists use maps to identify different habitats. Each color represents different sub states to determine which habitat is living in the lake beds.

This project will collect new lakebed data using acoustic mapping technologies, develop lakebed maps tailored to sanctuary management objectives, assess data gaps in existing mapping information and identify priorities for future mapping and monitoring.

Charles Menza says once the research is gathered they will be able to track new invasive muscle distributions and fish habitats. The sanctuary, scientists and communities will benefit from this information to effectively manage our Great Lakes. 

This work will add to the 16% of the lakebed surveyed within the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary with sufficient details. 

While there is still more work to process the new imagery, Ayman Mabrouk, a diver from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, says he plans to finish this project by April of next year.

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