Predicting subsurface sonar observations with satellite-derived ocean surface data in the California Current Ecosystem Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractVessel-based sonar systems that focus on the water column provide valuable information on the distribution of underwater marine organisms, but such data are expensive to collect and limited in their spatiotemporal coverage. Satellite data, however, are widely available across large regions and provide information on surface ocean conditions. If satellite data can be linked to subsurface sonar measurements, it may be possible to predict marine life over broader spatial regions with higher frequency using satellite observations. Here, we use random forest models to evaluate the potential for predicting a sonar-derived proxy for subsurface biomass as a function of satellite imagery in the California Current Ecosystem. We find that satellite data may be useful for prediction under some circumstances, but across a range of sonar frequencies and depths, overall predictive performance was low. Performance in spatial interpolation tasks exceeded performance in spatial and temporal extrapolation, suggesting that this approach is not yet reliable for forecasting or spatial extrapolation. We conclude with some potential limitations and extensions of this work.

publication date

  • May 31, 2020

Date in CU Experts

  • June 3, 2021 9:26 AM

Full Author List

  • Gadeken KR; Joseph MB; McGlinchy J; Karnauskas KB; Wall CC

author count

  • 5

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