Ben DiTrolio
MSc student
Dalhousie University

I grew up in New England where I developed a fondness for exploring the curious seafloor through diving, snorkeling and spearfishing. Experiencing the diversity of this coastal seascape, with eel grass beds and stretches of sand that give way to random boulders, each supporting different communities of marine life, fixed my interests to the study of seafloor properties and their role in creating and supporting benthic habitats. Following my undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Civil Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, I found the SEAM Lab at Dalhousie preparing to launch the ambitious Benthic Ecosystem Mapping and Engagement (BEcoME) Project, an international, multi-university, and industry research partnership. I am excited to be part of the BEcoME Project and for my niche within it, which is focused on resolving the acoustic backscatter response for different seabed substrate types using multibeam echo sounding (MBES). Identifying the acoustic backscatter response for a particular seafloor composition is complex and dependent on many factors such as frequency, angle, and range to name a few. Our work seeks to evaluate the contribution of these dominant factors by designing controlled experimental MBES surveys coupled with seafloor sampling to ground truth the backscatter response. Being able to identify seafloor composition by backscatter response will allow for more efficient and extensive assessment of benthic habitats in a largely unknown and changing ocean.   

Areas of Expertise:

Soil & Sediment Mechanics

Geotechnical Methods & Analysis

Site Assessment