Aquatic Habitat Assessment, Monitoring, and Resource Management

Aquatic Habitat Assessment, Monitoring, and Resource Management

Our aquatic ecologists and biologists are able to apply a wealth of experience in a variety of habitat types to evaluate short and long term changes to aquatic ecosystems. Our scientists and engineers use a multidisciplinary approach to understand the complex interactions of biological communities and the surrounding environment.  We focus on understanding the dynamic nature of natural ecosystems and communities and overlaying the potential effects of site-related activities in light of natural changes.

NewFields combines long-term monitoring data with state-of-the-art Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications to better understand trends in biological communities and the physical environment.  These tools are used to assess dredged material disposal site selection and monitoring, net environmental benefits analysis, aquaculture placement, and watersheds analysis.

Our team of biologists has extensive experience in the evaluation of aquatic biota for population level investigations relative to site use, age-class, presence/absence, diversity, richness, and abundance of marine species.   For site investigations and risk assessments, we have collected various fish, shellfish, crab, and benthic organisms for chemical analysis of tissue residues.

We have sediment profile imaging (SPI) and plan view (surface) camera systems.  The SPI underwater camera system takes a vertical digital image of the sediment water interface.  This technology allows for an efficient and cost effective method for examining benthic habitat and seafloor conditions.  Physical and biological parameters are measured directly from the digital images using a computer image analysis system.  The results of the image analysis are combined with GIS to map habitat types, benthic colonization, physical parameters, and areas of impact which can provide the basis for site assessment or long-term monitoring.  Additionally, the collected images provide an effective means of communicating bottom conditions for decision-making.