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Webinar: Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Mapping and Modelling Benthic Macrofauna Distribution in the New York Wind Energy Area
Thursday, 30 April 2020, 12:00
Thursday, April 30, 2020. 12:00PM. Webinar: Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Mapping and Modelling Benthic Macrofauna Distribution in the New York Wind Energy Area. Will Sautter, CSS. Sponsored by NOAA’s NOS. More information here.
NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) was funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to conduct a substrate analysis and benthic faunal assessment of the New York Wind Energy Area (NYWEA). NCCOS mapped the NYWEA using multibeam echosounders for bathymetry and backscatter, and then conducted a ground validation mission using a modified van Veen grab sampler. Underwater video data and sediment samples were collected at 400 different ground validation sites to classify the geoform, substrate, and biotic cover of the seafloor. The ground validation analysis revealed a vast sandy seascape with aggregations of pebbles and broken shell, and large colonies of foraging common sand dollars (Echinarachnius parma). Other benthic macrofauna were observed in the NYWEA including common sea stars (Asterias rubens), polychaete worms, hermit crabs (Paguroidea sp.), and Atlantic moon snails (Euspira heros). The only species of fish that was observed during the survey was the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), however the common sand dollar was the most abundant and widely distributed type of fauna. We used multiple linear regressions and geospatial models to examine the relationships between sand dollar abundance across depth, substrate type, and geoform type. This information helps scientists and managers understand how benthic faunal communities are distributed in the New York Bight, which is a critical component for the site suitability analysis and environmental impact assessments for the offshore wind farm.