Changes in benthic habitats occur as a result of natural variation or human-induced processes. It is important to understand natural fine-scale inter-annual patterns of change to separate these signals from patterns of long-term change. Describing change from an acoustic remote sensing standpoint has been facilitated by the recent availability of full coverage swath acoustic datasets, but is limited by cost pressures associated with multiple surveys of the same area. We studied the use of landscape transition analysis as a means to differentiate seemingly random patterns of habitat change from systematic signals of habitat transition at a shallow (10 to 50 m depth) 18 km2 site on the temperate Australian continental shelf in 2006 and 2007. Supervised classifications for each year were accomplished using inde pendently collected highresolution swath acoustic and video reference data. Of the 4 representative biotic clas ses considered, signals of directional systematic changes occurred be tween a kelp-dominated class, a sessile invertebrate-dominated class and a mixed class of kelp and sessile invertebrates. We provide a detailed analysis of the components of the traditional change detection cross tabulation matrix, allowing identification of the strongest signals of systematic habitat transitions. Iden tifying patterns of habitat change is an important first step toward understanding the processes that drive them.
- Habitat mapping
- Multibeam sonar