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Predictive mapping of the main benthic assemblages of the continental shelf and submarine canyon of Cap de Creus (NW Mediterranean): Implications for conservation and management

AuthorsDominguez-Carrió, Carlos ; Gili, Josep Maria ; Requena, Susana ; Ambroso, Stefano ; Grinyó, Jordi ; Corbera, Guillem; Martins, M.
Issue DateSep-2015
PublisherInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea
CitationASC Extended Abstracts (2015)
AbstractThe marine area of Cap de Creus is of great ecological relevance in the Mediterranean Sea, mainly due to the remarkable productivity of its waters, in consonance with the diversity of species and habitats identified in them. This exceptionality has come at a price, and the number of human related activities occurring in the areahas not ceased to increase during the past few decades. However, the harsh environmental conditions prevailing in the area have favoureda better conservation status when compared to other Mediterranean areas.The growing demand for better and more sustainable ways to manage the marine resources and preserve the marine heritage has encouraged the governing bodies to allocate resources in the exploration of areas for which our knowledge is still very limited. In this sense, and as part of the Life+ Indemares project, a comprehensive study of the environmental and biological features of the continental shelf and submarine canyon of Cap de Creus has been completed. A series of oceanographic surveys have provided the baseline information to declare this marine area as one of the most important MPAs within the framework of the Natura 2000 Network. More than 60 dives using ROVs and a manned submersible have been performed in the area, exploring depths that ranged from 70 to 400 m. All the information gathered in the video images has been used to describe the main benthic communities that dwell in these waters, for which the most sensible assemblages have also been identified. The environmental dataset is also very extensive, and includes (1) detailed information of the depth profile acquired with a swath bathymetry system, (2) a substrate-type distribution map obtained with the backscatter information, (3) hydrodynamic models of the direction and intensity of the main bottom currents and (4) mid-term data of the commercial fishing activity estimated from the VMS information. The spatial distribution of the main benthic assemblages, as well as the key structuring species, has been produced using predictive modelling techniques, in which the biological data has been combined with the geological and physical data of the seabed, in addition to the oceanographic data, and finally with the fishing activity. It is known that human activities may exert a very strong driving force in the present-day distribution of marine organisms, and the models have also integrated this significantinformation. The results obtained are of essential interest to the future management plans of the MPA and should be taken into account when designing the specific monitoring programs to be implemented. Furthermore, the working methodology here presented could be implemented in other areas of the Mediterranean Sea that are of interest in conservation programs, in which coastal, shelf and slope habitats should be included.
DescriptionDominguez-Carrió, Carlos ... et. al.-- International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Annual Science Conference, 21-25 September 2015, Copenhagen, Denmark.-- 1 page
Publisher version (URL)http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/ASCExtendedAbstracts/SitePages/Home.aspx?RootFolder=%2Fsites%2Fpub%2FASCExtendedAbstracts%2FShared%20Documents%2FN%20%2D%20Seafloor%20habitat%20mapping%20from%20observation%20to%20management&FolderCTID=0x0120003547376EAFDC844891BE34E8DA51E43A&View=%7B661AD25E%2DB7DF%2D4234%2DBDE9%2D89DF53693A41%7D
Identifiersisbn: 978-87-7482-165-6
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Libros y partes de libros
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