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Habitats and biotopes

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    The research work had the aim to obtain a first quantitative information for the characterization of the macrobenthic communities of submarine archaeological park, including those living in the seagrass, and to perform a bionomic map by GIS methods.

  • Mapping of the Vatika Bay seafloor has been conducted in two different periods: in June 2010 and May 2015. The shallow, northern part of the Bay has been mapped in 2010 during the research project "PAVLOPETRI" by means of swath bathymetry (RESON SeaBat 7125 200/400 kHz), side scan sonar (Geoacoustics 100/400 kHz) and pinger (3.5 kHz) subbottom profiler. The deeper seafloor of the Bay has been surveyed in 2015 by means of side scan sonar and chirp subbottom profiling for the purposes of the research project "Environmental Study of Vatika Bay", funded by the Prefecture of Peloponnese. The research vessel "ALKYON" has been used in both cruises. The description of the nature of the seafloor and the habitat mapping has been based mostly on the interpretation of the acoustic-geophysical data and Sentinel-2 satellite imagery, as well as secondarily on the limited sampling performed in the area.

  • The objective of this project was to generate seabed habitat maps for locations with full coverage acoustic datasets to as detailed a hierarchical level as possible within the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland (version 04.05), also known as MNCR classification, (Connor et al. 2004). The acoustic data were at various stages of processing and interpretation, therefore the mapping of habitats and biotopes in some areas have required a greater amount of work to reach the same level compared to other areas. The constituent polygons within the habitat/biotope maps are labelled to an appropriate level of the Habitat Classification and translated to the corresponding EUNIS code. In order to generate seabed habitat maps for the areas the data associated with each area were required to undergo some preliminary preparation and processing in order to ensure suitability and compatibly with the mapping methodologies employed. The data were then processed using several techniques: a top-down approach was adopted based on the methods developed by MESH and UKSeaMap and used by EUSeaMap, which utilised the updated seabed substrate information provided by BGS. In addition a bottom up approach was taken to utilise the recently acquired point sample data and bathymetry and backscatter data sets, and this process took an object based approach supplemented by supervised classification and categorisation. Three maps for each MPA proposal have been produced (the level of habitat detail which could be mapped was restricted to level 3 or 4 of the EUNIS classification and level 2 or 3 of the MNCR classification) with associated metadata and peripheral supplementary data to aid in future analysis and interpretation. A confidence assessment using the MESH confidence assessment method has been undertaken for each habitat map produced and certainty of classification maps accompany each habitat map also.

  • The objective of this project was to generate seabed habitat maps for locations with full coverage acoustic datasets to as detailed a hierarchical level as possible within the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland (version 04.05), also known as MNCR classification, (Connor et al. 2004). The acoustic data were at various stages of processing and interpretation, therefore the mapping of habitats and biotopes in some areas have required a greater amount of work to reach the same level compared to other areas. The constituent polygons within the habitat/biotope maps are labelled to an appropriate level of the Habitat Classification and translated to the corresponding EUNIS code. In order to generate seabed habitat maps for the areas the data associated with each area were required to undergo some preliminary preparation and processing in order to ensure suitability and compatibly with the mapping methodologies employed. The data were then processed using several techniques: a top-down approach was adopted based on the methods developed by MESH and UKSeaMap and used by EUSeaMap, which utilised the updated seabed substrate information provided by BGS. In addition a bottom up approach was taken to utilise the recently acquired point sample data and bathymetry and backscatter data sets, and this process took an object based approach supplemented by supervised classification and categorisation. Three maps for each MPA proposal have been produced (the level of habitat detail which could be mapped was restricted to level 3 or 4 of the EUNIS classification and level 2 or 3 of the MNCR classification) with associated metadata and peripheral supplementary data to aid in future analysis and interpretation. A confidence assessment using the MESH confidence assessment method has been undertaken for each habitat map produced and certainty of classification maps accompany each habitat map also.

  • The objective of this project was to generate seabed habitat maps for locations with full coverage acoustic datasets to as detailed a hierarchical level as possible within the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland (version 04.05), also known as MNCR classification, (Connor et al. 2004). The acoustic data were at various stages of processing and interpretation, therefore the mapping of habitats and biotopes in some areas have required a greater amount of work to reach the same level compared to other areas. The constituent polygons within the habitat/biotope maps are labelled to an appropriate level of the Habitat Classification and translated to the corresponding EUNIS code. In order to generate seabed habitat maps for the areas the data associated with each area were required to undergo some preliminary preparation and processing in order to ensure suitability and compatibly with the mapping methodologies employed. A top-down approach was adopted based on the methods developed by MESH and UKSeaMap and used by EUSeaMap, which utilised the updated seabed substrate information provided by BGS. Three maps for each MPA proposal have been produced (the level of habitat detail which could be mapped was restricted to level 3 or 4 of the EUNIS classification and level 2 or 3 of the MNCR classification) with associated metadata and peripheral supplementary data to aid in future analysis and interpretation. A confidence assessment using the MESH confidence assessment method has been undertaken for each habitat map produced and certainty of classification maps accompany each habitat map also.

  • In May 2008 (18-27 May), a survey commissioned by JNCC undertook seabed habitat investigations of two Areas of Search (AoS) for offshore SACs. The objectives of this survey, within the Submarine structures in the mid-Irish Sea AoS and the Solan Bank AoS, were to acquire high quality acoustic data capable of identifying and delineating habitats listed under Annex I of the 1992 EC Habitats Directive; primarily the Annex I habitat Submarine structures made by leaking gases in the former AoS and Annex I Reef habitat in the latter AoS. Surveys consisted of both broad-scale and fine-scale acoustic techniques, utilising sidescan sonar and multibeam swathe bathymetry, along with a variety of ground-truthing techniques including towed and drop down video/stills and Hamon grab sampling. A Rock dredge was also used at a few stations in order to gather samples of epibiota from hard substrata to assist with the taxonomic identification of the video and still images. The range of sampling techniques employed ensured that any Annex I habitats could be adequately described and characterised. For both AoSs survey planning and interpretation of survey data utilised extensive pre-existing data sets.

  • Within the last 5 years, widespread uptake of multi-beam sonar technology within the offshore survey industry has meant that swath bathymetry is becoming economic even within the nearshore region. As a result, the Southeast Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme has been able to upgrade their single-beam bathymetric surveys to achieve 100% seafloor coverage to IHO Order 1a standard through collaboration with the Maritime and Coastguard Agencyâ??s Civil Hydrography Programme. Although the main purpose is to survey the bathymetry of the seabed, the full coverage bathymetry combined with acoustic backscatter information collected during the swath bathymetry survey can be integrated with ground-truthing information to produce a series of detailed maps.

  • Mapping the distribution of maerl in South Uist, Western Isles was a collaborative study between Scottish Natural Heritage and the BioMar Programme. The survey used acoustic techniques, video drops, ROV, grab samples and diver surveys. The result was a map of predicted biotope distribution.

  • The result of a multidisciplinary field survey of the Haig Fras SAC which was initiated in January and completed during March/April 2011. The current study was initiated to investigate the extent of Annex I reef habitat at Haig Fras. Cefas and JNCC collected full-coverage multibeam bathymetric and backscatter data and associated ground-truthing data. This data has been analysed to update the extent of the Annex I reef and produce a broadscale habitat map. Seven biotopes were identified from drop camera transects with the predominant biotope characterised by Devonshire cup corals, sponges and crustose communities on wave-exposed circalittoral rock. The broadscale habitat map indicates the presence of four main biotopes; high energy circalittoral rock, moderate energy circalittoral rock, deep circalittoral coarse sediment and deep circalittoral sand.

  • The purpose of this study was to re-survey six locations on the rocky shore within the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast European Marine Site which had originally been surveyed in November 2003 in order to make an assessment of these habitats as a food resource for shorebirds. The original survey also provided data on the biotope composition and biodiversity of the site in order to inform Natural England on the status of the large shallow inlets and bays feature of the site.