Habitat mapping aims to accurately identify and describe the characteristics of different benthic habitats on the seabed. In order to achieve this, multidisciplinary data sets based on geological, biological, chemical and oceanographic observations must be gathered together and analyzed. With varied and integrated data sets a comprehensive picture of the underwater habitat can be created. The habitat map is the final product of habitat mapping and reveals the diversity and distribution of a variety of marine habitats. This map can then serve as a useful tool in biological valuation and marine management.
There are variety of different tools and techniques that enable surveying of the under-water environment. Two kinds of methods may be distinguished:
1. Large-scale methods - allow researchers to get a pictures of relatively large areas (satellite images and aerial photographs, acoustic techniques).
2. Fine-scale methods - provide an opportunity to take a closer look and gather more detailed information about a particular area of the seafloor (sediment sampling, underwater photography, video).
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