CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – College of Charleston Professor Leslie Sautter and her students map the ocean floor using a multi-beam sonar.
“We are able to go out to sea and employ those new skills the students have learned and target areas that SCDNR, the MARMAP program has identified as essential fish habitats,” Sautter said.
The students use different complex softwares to transform the data collected by the sonar.
“So, the software takes all that data and renders it in a visualization. A map,” Sautter said. “Because there’s so much data, we can also map it in three dimensions.”
This fall, the students will turn the data into visual maps of the sea bed.
“They’ll take the data, and they’ll clean it so there are no artifacts,” said Sautter.
The students will end up with a 3D visualization of the seabed that anyone can understand.
“We also have the maps so we can put them into the navigation systems, people can navigate to them,” Sautter said. “People can know where to protect, where we don’t need to protect. Let the fish migrate to a new place.”
Students will then generate a poster of the data collected. Some will present their research at a national meeting called ‘Ocean Sciences’ in San Diego in February.
Professor Sautter said this is when she watches her students transform into scientists and professionals.