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Benthic habitat mapping in a Portuguese Marine Protected Area using EUNIS: An integrated approach
Henriques, V.; Guerra, M.T.; Mendes, B.; Gaudèncio, M.J.; Fonseca, P. (2015). Benthic habitat mapping in a Portuguese Marine Protected Area using EUNIS: An integrated approach. J. Sea Res. 100: 77-90. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.seares.2014.10.007
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    EUNIS, Marine habitat mapping, Marine protected area, Benthic macrofauna, Acoustic remote sensing, Portuguese continental waters

Authors  Top | Dataset 
  • Henriques, V.
  • Guerra, M.T.
  • Mendes, B.
  • Gaudèncio, M.J.
  • Fonseca, P.

Abstract
    A growing demand for seabed and habitat mapping has taken place over the past years to support the maritime integrated policies at EU and national levels aiming at the sustainable use of sea resources. This study presents the results of applying the hierarchical European Nature Information System (EUNIS) to classify and map the benthic habitats of the Luiz Saldanha Marine Park, a marine protected area (MPA), located in the mainland Portuguese southwest coast, in the Iberian Peninsula. The habitat map was modelled by applying a methodology based on EUNIS to merge biotic and abiotic key habitat drivers. The modelling in this approach focused on predicting the association of different data types: substrate, bathymetry, light intensity, waves and currents energy, sediment grain size and benthic macrofauna into a common framework. The resulting seamless medium scale habitat map discriminates twenty six distinct sublittoral habitats, including eight with no match in the current classification, which may be regarded as new potential habitat classes and therefore will be submitted to EUNIS. A discussion is provided examining the suitability of the current EUNIS scheme as a standardized approach to classify marine benthic habitats and map their spatial distribution at medium scales in the Portuguese coast. In addition the factors that most affected the results available in the predictive habitat map and the role of the environmental factors on macrofaunal assemblage composition and distribution are outlined.

Dataset
  • Benthic fauna collected in the Arrábida Marine Protected Area (SW Portugal) from 2007 to 2009, more

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