Benthic Ecology Video Information System
The Benthic Ecology Video Information System (BEVIS) has been developed for rapid, cost-effective seafloor habitat surveys. The system comprises two high-resolution colour CCD zoom video cameras and one B&W camera for use in low light conditions, mounted on a frame with runners. Live video footage is fed to the research vessel via an umbilical cable while the sledge is being pulled along the seafloor. Use of differential gps and a video overlay which displays time, depth, heading and gps coordinates directly onto the video screen enables highly accurate georeferencing of the video data. Accurate measurements of feature size and area covered are recorded by six scaling lasers.
By nesting video with different sampling methods such as Side Scan Sonar and QTC, a multi resolution approach can by used to survey vast areas of seafloor habitat in an efficient and cost-effective way. BEVIS has distinct advantages over other forms of benthic surveying such as being of fine enough scale to identify key epifaunal features and macrofaunal signs (such as crab burrows and worm tubes), but also covering far greater distances than is possible using diver-operated systems. BEVIS can also be employed at depths where using divers to collect video data or macrobenthic cores would be impractical or impossible.