The experts in WGMHM have experience in habitat mapping and
classification, and include geologists, benthic ecologists, conservation
practitioners, GIS analysts and database experts. The working group meets
annually to collate new information and standardize geographic information for
seabed and habitat maps the in the ICES area.
The working group
provides an important forum to discuss international and national seabed
mapping programmes, along with their relevance to regional conventions and
European directives and more specifically among them, the MSFD. The MSFD
required better knowledge of the seabed, both from a biodiversity but also an
integrity point of view. WGMHM examines techniques with a capacity to address
these issues, whether for direct mapping or through modelling.
The compilation of national
status reports remains an important tool to show progress in knowledge on our
seabed. This extends to interpreted and modelled maps including habitats,
biotopes, and substrate maps. Habitat suitability modelling is a key emerging
technique as it allows addressing large areas of the seabed using field data
and environmental parameters or their proxies, limiting the need for survey
data. Mapping physical habitats is also a promising approach. One important
task for the group is to share and develop best practices in this field.
© MAREANO, Institute of Marine Research, Norway