D2.1 Workshop On Habitat Classification Schemes in Deep and Shallow Water Areas

Lecce 15th and 16th of May 2012

The core of WP2 is to integrate and combine the already existent information about habitat distribution and extent with a detailed assessment of pattern of distribution of human pressures. However, without knowing what exists where, it is very difficult to formulate effective management initiatives especially at basin scale. This task cannot be run without a throughout revision of habitat classification schemes. Most habitat mapping (both coastal and deep sea) is conducted on an ad hoc basis, with little consistency in terminology and ambiguous documentation. Environmental management and conservation require standardised classifications and terminology for habitats to enable consistent mapping and storage of information of the environment across all possible habitats.

Key concepts and considerations in designing marine habitat classifications have been developed by many authors (Dauvin et al., 2008; Costello, 2009; Guarinello et al., 2010; Howell, 2010; see the attached) who focused on the definition of habitat, the measurable features used to describe it, the scale and the hierarchical framework to be used. However, conclusive results and shared classifications have not been identified yet. These limitations impede interpretation and integration of maps both for science and management, particularly at regional (international) scales.

The aim of the workshop will be to compare and revise the recent efforts about

 (1) the definition of habitat,

 (2) the habitat inventories and the classification schemes available for the Mediterranean Sea and for extra Mediterranean area,

 (3) the link between geomorphology and biology and the use of surrogates in seascape mapping,

 (4) the scales used to analyse habitat distribution and extent,

 (5) legend labels and symbols to represent habitats.

The expected outcomes will be

(1) a literature review including points (1) (2) (3),

(2) the developing of the most appropriate framework for mapping, storage and analysis of habitat data both in the deep and shallow waters.

We will circulate a more extended abstract on points (1) (2) (3) within 2 weeks.

In the meanwhile, we would like to ask you to begin to collect the available cartographic information in your area of interest to address point (4) and (5). There will be a specific focus on habitats such as macroalgal canopies, seagrasses, bioconstructions (from coralligenous formations to vermetid reefs) and deep sea white corals but cartographic information dealing with other habitats are also of interest. The best would be to find the originalshape files, but other formats (such as .jpg) could also be welcome. We will send you by the next week specific information on how to collect these datatogether with an excel file to describe and to store the information needed. We are going to use the same format used within the project MEDISEH MAREA. In this project we were focusing on coralligenous formations and seagrasses. I willsend a list of already collected data for these two habitats in order not to duplicate the efforts. I can anticipate that nothing has been done for the Black Sea.

For those areas lacking cartographic evidence but where personal observations do exist, I suggest trying to fill the same excel file we willsend you, stressing in the “note area” that even though in absence of georeferred data, personal observations about presence/absence of a specific habitat are available.

These data will represent a basis for discussion during the workshop point (4) and (5) but will be also the starting point for our task 2 “Review of the state of the art on habitat distributions in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Data mining and integration”


Literature for this article :


" Distinguishing Marine Habitat Classification Concepts for Ecological Data Management "

by Mark J. Costello

" The need for clear and comparable terminology in benthic ecology. Part II. Application of the European Directives "

a Station Marine de Wimereux, FRE 2816 CNRS ELICO, Universite´ Lille1, Wimereux, France

" The need for clear and comparable terminology in benthic ecology. Part I. Ecological concepts "

a Station Marine de Wimereux, FRE 2016 CNRS ELICO, Universite´ Lille1, Wimereux, France
b Station Marine d’Endoume, UMR CNRS DIMAR, Universite´ de la Me´diterrane´e, Marseille, France

" Marine Habitat Classification for Ecosystem-Based Management "

A Proposed Hierarchical Framework Marisa L. Guarinello and Emily J. Shumchenia and John W. King

" A benthic classification system to aid in the implementation of marine protected area networks in the deep/high seas of the NE Atlantic "
by Kerry L. Howell
University of Plymouth, Marine Institute, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL3 5EE, UK


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