Using EUNIS habitat classification for benthic mapping in European seas: Present concerns and future needs

Type Article
Date 2012-12
Language English
Author(s) Galparsoro Ibon1, Connor David W.2, Borja Angel1, Aish Annabelle3, Amorim Patricia4, Bajjouk Touria5, Chambers Caroline6, Coggan Roger7, Dirberg Guillaume3, Ellwood Helen8, Evans Douglas, Goodin Kathleen L.9, Grehan Anthony10, Haldin Jannica11, Howell Kerry12, Jenkins Chris8, Michez Noemie3, Mo Giulia13, Buhl-Mortensen Pal14, Pearce Bryony15, Populus Jacques5, Salomidi Maria16, Sanchez Francisco, Serrano Alberto, Shumchenia Emily17, Tempera FernandoORCID4, Vasquez MickaelORCID5
Affiliation(s) 1 : AZTI Tecnalia, Div Marine Res, Portualdea Zg 20110, Pasaia, Spain.
2 : Commiss European Communities, DG Environm, Unit Marine Environm & Water Ind D2, B-1160 Brussels, Belgium.
3 : Museum Natl Hist Nat, Serv Patrimoine Nat, F-75231 Paris 05, France.
4 : Univ Azores, Dept Oceanog & Fisheries, P-9901862 Horta, Portugal.
5 : DYNECO Applicat Geomat IFREMER, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
6 : Marine Ecol Surveys Ltd, Bath BA1 2NH, Avon, England.
7 : Ctr Environm Fisheries & Aquaculture Sci, Lowestoft NR33 0HT, Suffolk, England.
8 : Joint Nat Conservat Comm, Peterborough PE1 1JY, Cambs, England.
9 : NatureServe, Arlington, VA 22203 USA.
10 : Natl Univ Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
11 : Balt Marine Environm Protect Commiss HELCOM, FI-00160 Helsinki, Finland.
12 : Univ Plymouth, Marine Biol & Ecol Res Ctr, Inst Marine, Sch Marine Sci & Engn, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, England.
13 : ISPRA, I-00144 Rome, Italy.
14 : Benth Habitat & Shellfish Inst Marine Res, Bergen, Norway.
15 : Marine Ecol Surveys Ltd, Gardline Caledonia Ltd, Glasgow G1 3HL, Lanark, Scotland.
16 : HCMR, Inst Oceanog, Anavyssos 19013, Greece.
17 : Univ Rhode Isl, Grad Sch Oceanog, Narragansett, RI 02882 USA.
Source Marine Pollution Bulletin (0025-326X) (Pergamon-elsevier Science Ltd), 2012-12 , Vol. 64 , N. 12 , P. 2630-2638
DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2012.10.010
WOS© Times Cited 56
Keyword(s) Habitat classification scheme, EUNIS, Marine habitats, Habitat mapping
Abstract The EUNIS (European Union Nature Information System) habitat classification system aims to provide a common European reference set of habitat types within a hierarchical classification, and to cover all terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats of Europe. The classification facilitates reporting of habitat data in a comparable manner, for use in nature conservation (e.g. inventories, monitoring and assessments), habitat mapping and environmental management. For the marine environment the importance of a univocal habitat classification system is confirmed by the fact that many European initiatives, aimed at marine mapping, assessment and reporting, are increasingly using EUNIS habitat categories and respective codes. For this reason substantial efforts have been made to include information on marine benthic habitats from different regions, aiming to provide a comprehensive geographical coverage of European seas. However, there still remain many concerns on its applicability as only a small fraction of Europe's seas are fully mapped and increasing knowledge and application raise further issues to be resolved. This paper presents an overview of the main discussion and conclusions of a workshop, organised by the MeshAtlantic project, focusing upon the experience in using the EUNIS habitats classification across different countries and seas, together with case studies. The aims of the meeting were to: (i) bring together scientists with exper_ience_in the use of the EUNIS marine classification and representatives from the European Environment Agency (EEA); (ii) agree on enhancements to EUNIS that ensure an improved representation of the European marine habitats; and (iii) establish practices that make marine habitat maps produced by scientists more consistent with the needs of managers and decision-makers. During the workshop challenges for the future development of EUNIS were identified, which have been classified into five categories: (1) structure and hierarchy; (2) biology; (3) terminology; (4) mapping; and (5) future development. The workshop ended with a declaration from the attendees, with recommendations to the EEA and European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, to take into account the outputs of the workshop, which identify weaknesses in the current classification and include proposals for its modification, and to devise a process to further develop the marine component of the EUNIS habitat classification. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Galparsoro Ibon, Connor David W., Borja Angel, Aish Annabelle, Amorim Patricia, Bajjouk Touria, Chambers Caroline, Coggan Roger, Dirberg Guillaume, Ellwood Helen, Evans Douglas, Goodin Kathleen L., Grehan Anthony, Haldin Jannica, Howell Kerry, Jenkins Chris, Michez Noemie, Mo Giulia, Buhl-Mortensen Pal, Pearce Bryony, Populus Jacques, Salomidi Maria, Sanchez Francisco, Serrano Alberto, Shumchenia Emily, Tempera Fernando, Vasquez Mickael (2012). Using EUNIS habitat classification for benthic mapping in European seas: Present concerns and future needs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 64(12), 2630-2638. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :