Title: Bringing together harmonized EUNIS seabed habitat geospatial information for the European Seas
Authors: COSTA TEMPERA FERNANDO
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC95611
ISBN: 978-92-79-48229-8 (print)
978-92-79-48230-4 (pdf)
ISSN: 1018-5593 (print)
1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 27237
OP LB-NA-27237-EN-C (print)
OP LB-NA-27237-EN-N (online)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC95611
DOI: 10.2788/34041
10.2788/118489
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The EUNIS-compliant information on Seabed Habitats that is currently available from the EMODNET portal covers only about half of the European Union (EU) waters in the Northeast Atlantic and adjacent Seas with EU outermost regions in other parts of the Atlantic or in the Indian Ocean still remaining out of the exercise. These gaps limit the geographical comprehensiveness of any studies on seabed-related Ecosystem Functions and Services. However, separate broad-scale seabed habitat mapping sources offer complementary seabed-related geospatial information that can be straightforwardly or, after some basic GIS processing, translated into EUNIS classes. This work focused on expeditiously obtaining a comprehensive coverage of permanently submerged seabed habitats (i.e., EUNIS classes A3 to A6) throughout most of the EU marine waters. This was achieved by bringing in, and harmonizing where need, complementary EUNIS-compliant broad-scale geospatial information from the UNEP’s Global Seafloor Geomorphic Features Map (GSGFM). The new geospatial dataset obtained, a polygon shapefile, extends for approximately 8.7 million km2 and more than doubles the coverage of EUNIS seabed habitat classes when compared to the datasets available from the EMODNET Seabed Habitats portal. The new information details more than 90% of the EU waters down to EUNIS level 2 and 3, improving EMODNET datasets by populating the deep-sea and offshore areas with previously disregarded geomorphic-based EUNIS habitat classes. Conversely, it is acknowledged that the GSGFM data could did not bring in any relevant information concerning EUNIS shelf habitats. The methodology and some area-based statistics on seabed habitat are presented, including overall and basin-specific mapped extents. It is noted that the mapping and quantification of several habitat extents are still geographically biased and underestimate the actual extent of the habitat. A comprehensive and homogeneous coverage of all EU seabed is expected in 2016 from the EMODNET Seabed Habitats programme. Until then, the current synthesis may constitute a valuable dataset for assessing the distribution of many EUNIS seabed habitat classes in EU waters and pursuing spatially-explicit analysis of seabed-related Functions and Services.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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