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High-resolution sonar data are necessary to map bottom substrate for habitat studies but are lacking over much of the continental shelf. With such data, areas covered by sediment can be distinguished from bedrock areas with an accuracy of ~90%. Without these data, the extent of sediment as thick as 10 m cannot be resolved, and estimates of the extent of rocky seafloor are exaggerated. A study area north of Anacapa Island in Southern California interpreted as a large rocky area after mapping with low-resolution seismic systems was found to have exposed rocky bottom in only 10% of the area when...

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