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Title: Broad-scale mapping of seafloor habitats in the north-east Atlantic using existing environmental data
Authors: 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; Monteiro, Pedro; Mendes, Beatriz; Freitas, Rosa; Martins, Roberto; Populus, Jacques; McGrath, Fergal
Citation: JOURNAL OF SEA RESEARCH, 2015, 100, 120-132
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 the 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. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Issue Date: 2015
Type: Article
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/j.seares.2014.09.011
ISSN: 1385-1101
E-ISSN: 1873-1414
Funder: Interreg IVB `Atlantic Area' programme \[AA-10/1218525/BF]
Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-IP, Portugal) post-doctoral grant \[SFRH/BPD/79801/2011]
Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) \[PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011-2014]
Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT) through (FEDER)
Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT) through (POCI)
Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT) through (FSE)
Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT) through (COMPETE)
Azores Directorate for Science and Technology (DRCT) \[PEst-OE/EEI/LA0009/2011]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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