Broad-scale mapping of seafloor habitats in the north-east Atlantic using existing environmental data

Type Article
Date 2015-06
Language English
Author(s) Vasquez MickaelORCID1, Mata Chacon D.2, Tempera FernandoORCID3, O'Keeffe Eimear4, Galparsoro Ibon5, Sanz Alonso J. L.2, Goncalves Jorge M. S.6, Bentes Luis6, Amorim Patricia3, Henriques Victor7, McGrath Fergal4, Monteiro Pedro6, Mendes Beatriz7, Freitas Rosa8, 9, Martins Roberto8, 9, Populus Jacques1
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER, Ctr Bretagne, ZI Pointe Diable, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Inst Espanol Oceanog, Madrid 28002, Spain.
3 : Univ Azores, IMAR, Dept Oceanog & Fisheries, P-9901862 Horta, Acores, Portugal.
4 : Inst Marine, Oranmore, Galway, Ireland.
5 : AZTI Tecnalia, Div Marine Res, Pasaia 20110, Spain.
6 : Univ Algarve, Ctr Marine Sci CCMAR, P-8005139 Faro, Portugal.
7 : Inst Portugues Mar & Atmosfera, P-1449006 Lisbon, Portugal.
8 : Univ Aveiro, Dept Biol, P-3810193 Aveiro, Portugal.
9 : Univ Aveiro, CESAM, P-3810193 Aveiro, Portugal.
Source Journal Of Sea Research (1385-1101) (Elsevier Science Bv), 2015-06 , Vol. 100 , P. 120-132
DOI 10.1016/j.seares.2014.09.011
WOS© Times Cited 28
Note MeshAtlantic: Mapping Atlantic Area Seabed Habitats for Better Marine Management
Keyword(s) Habitat Mapping, EUNIS, Exposure, Biological Zones, Substrate
Abstract If marine management policies and actions are to achieve long-term sustainable use and management of the marine environment and its resources, they need to be informed by data giving the spatial distribution of seafloor habitats over large areas. Broad-scale seafloor habitat mapping is an approach which has the benefit of producing maps covering large extents at a reasonable cost. This approach was first investigated by Roff et al. (2003), who, acknowledging that benthic communities are strongly influenced by the physical characteristics of the seafloor, proposed overlaying mapped physical variables using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to produce an integrated map of the physical characteristics of the seafloor. In Europe the method was adapted to the marine section of EUNIS (European Nature Information System) classification of habitat types under the MESH project, and was applied at an operational level in 2011 under the EUSeaMap project. The present study compiled GIS layers for fundamental physical parameters in the northeast Atlantic, including (i) bathymetry, (ii) substrate type, (iii) light penetration depth and (iv) exposure to near-seafloor currents and wave action. Based on analyses of biological occurrences, significant thresholds were fine-tuned for each of the abiotic layers and later used in multi-criteria raster algebra for the integration of the layers into a seafloor habitat map. The final result was a harmonised broad-scale seafloor habitat map with a 250 m pixel size covering four extensive areas, i.e. Ireland, the Bay of Biscay, the Iberian Peninsula and the Azores. The map provided the first comprehensive perception of habitat spatial distribution for the Iberian Peninsula and the Azores, and fed into the initiative for a pan-European map initiated by the EUSeaMap project for Baltic, North, Celtic and Mediterranean seas.
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Vasquez Mickael, Mata Chacon D., Tempera Fernando, O'Keeffe Eimear, Galparsoro Ibon, Sanz Alonso J. L., Goncalves Jorge M. S., Bentes Luis, Amorim Patricia, Henriques Victor, McGrath Fergal, Monteiro Pedro, Mendes Beatriz, Freitas Rosa, Martins Roberto, Populus Jacques (2015). Broad-scale mapping of seafloor habitats in the north-east Atlantic using existing environmental data. Journal Of Sea Research, 100, 120-132. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :