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Using catenas for GIS-based mapping of NW Mediterranean littoral habitats

AuthorsMariani, Simone ; Cefalì, Maria Elena ; Terradas, Marc; Chappuis, Eglantine ; Ballesteros, Enric
Ecological distribution
Marine environment
Issue Date2014
CitationEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 147 : 56-57 (2014)
AbstractStudies aimed at describing habitats and mapping their distributions are pivotal to implementing management plans and to effectively guide conservation measures. We developed a novel approach of data collection and entry (CAT-LIT) to establish a detailed cartography of the littoral habitats found along the Catalan coast (Spain). Field data were recorded using coded, two-digit hierarchical lists (e.g. Aa, Ab, etc.) of horizons found at each point along the coast, called catenas. The horizons were either dominated by species (on the rocky bottoms) or sediment types (on the beaches) and corresponded to LPRE, EUNIS and CORINE habitats. Catenas were transferred into a database and calculations about the extent of bottom types, habitats, and catenas themselves along the coast were carried out with GIS tools. In addition, habitat link richness was calculated and represented using network analysis programs. The application of CAT-LIT to the Catalan coast showed that the habitats dominated by the lichen Verrucaria amphibia and the flattened barnacle Euraphia depressa and those dominated by the barnacle Chthamalus spp. were almost ubiquitous. Those dominated by the red alga Corallina elongata, the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis and the red alga Rissoella verruculosa were also common. Because of the frequency of their connections, those habitats formed a huge hub of links in the networks. By using catenas, the habitats can be viewed using GIS based programs keeping the catena as the main informational and ecological unit. The catenas allow maximum compactness when vertically distributed habitats are to be shown on a 2D map. The complete cartography and dataset on the spatial distribution of the littoral habitats from Catalonia is valuable for coastal management and conservation to study changes in the habitat distribution and relate such changes to anthropogenic pressures. Furthermore, the CAT-LIT can be easily adapted to shores of other seas and oceans to obtain accurate cartographies of the spatiallyreduced and highly vulnerable littoral habitats.
Description12 páginas, 9 figuras, 1 tabla.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2014.05.030
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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