Marine Habitat Mapping

Remote sensing data targeted direct sampling and model developments are all used to anticipate where seafloor habitats reside. Maps are created from the ground up by characterizing environmental conditions and then mapping the environment into identical physical conditions using statistical analysis and Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial modeling techniques. Let’s know about Marine Habitat Mapping in details.

A physical habitat map depicts this information

Direct sampling techniques are utilized to characterize plant and animal species or communities at sampling sites in each environment using this map as a guide.

Spatial analysts can utilize physical data to anticipate where plants and animals may appear in other regions not sampled (species/community habitat map) using statistical analysis of biological and species or community data for the sample sites.

Instruments for mapping marine habitats –

The following are some examples of tools that can be used to create marine habitat maps:

• Acoustic remote sensing instruments, such as multiband echo sounder systems for mapping the depth of the bottom

• Analyzing the strength of the return multiband signal (backscatter) aids in predicting where rock is most likely to appear.

• Information on water quality, such as light availability at the seafloor, aids in predicting where marine plants will predominate.

• Depth and backscatter data modeling will reveal what landscapes are present beneath the water’s surface.

• By modeling all environmental data, habitat maps with similar ecological characteristics can be created.

• Predictive distribution maps can be constructed using biological data and species or community models.

Statistical analysis and GIS spatial modeling tools use the same principles to keep maps consistent, easy to update and improve when new data becomes available.

Areas of Responsibility –

1. We use the data from offshore surveys to construct new habitat maps. These precise maps aid in the characterization of sites that have never been surveyed before and provide a snapshot in time to aid in monitoring changes in habitat extent. See:

Detailed maps of marine habitats –

2. We combine habitat maps from various sources to create composite products that answer specific questions, such as “where are all the cold-water coral reefs in the United Kingdom?” ‘How much of the seafloor is rocky?’ and ‘How much of the seafloor is rocky?’ The following are the most widely used products:

• EUNIS combined level 3 maps for the United Kingdom

• Marine habitats in Annex I of the Habitats Directive in the United Kingdom

• OSPAR habitats in the NE Atlantic that is vulnerable or declining

Final Words…!!!

The marine environment is under demands that threaten to degrade the environmental, social, and economic benefits that the oceans provide to human society. As the world’s population grows, so does the range and complexity of marine-based industries such as fishing, power generating, tourism, mineral extraction, and shipping. In the case studies included in this book, habitat mapping is used to support government spatial marine planning, management, and decision-making and support and underlie the construction of marine protected areas. Hope so you are well aware of Marine Habitat Mapping now.