Discussion in the group takes place on international and national seabed mapping programmes, along with their relevance to regional conventions and European directives, specifically the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The MSFD requires better knowledge of the seabed, both from a biodiversity but also an integrity point of view. WGMHM examines techniques with the capacity to address these issues.
The compilation of national status reports remains important for showing progress in knowledge of 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 large areas of the seabed to be addressed 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.
WGMHM experts have experience in habitat mapping and classification, and include geologists, benthic ecologists, conservation practitioners, GIS analysts and database experts.
© MAREANO, Institute of Marine Research, Norway