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Mapping and classifying the seabed of the West Greenland continental shelf

Gougeon, S; Kemp, KM; Blicher, ME; Yesson, C; (2017) Mapping and classifying the seabed of the West Greenland continental shelf. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 187 pp. 231-240. 10.1016/j.ecss.2017.01.009. Green open access

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Abstract

Marine benthic habitats support a diversity of marine organisms that are both economically and intrinsically valuable. Our knowledge of the distribution of these habitats is largely incomplete, particularly in deeper water and at higher latitudes. The western continental shelf of Greenland is one example of a deep (more than 500 m) Arctic region with limited information available. This study uses an adaptation of the EUNIS seabed classification scheme to document benthic habitats in the region of the West Greenland shrimp trawl fishery from 60°N to 72°N in depths of 61–725 m. More than 2000 images collected at 224 stations between 2011 and 2015 were grouped into 7 habitat classes. A classification model was developed using environmental proxies to make habitat predictions for the entire western shelf (200–700 m below 72°N). The spatial distribution of habitats correlates with temperature and latitude. Muddy sediments appear in northern and colder areas whereas sandy and rocky areas dominate in the south. Southern regions are also warmer and have stronger currents. The Mud habitat is the most widespread, covering around a third of the study area. There is a general pattern that deep channels and basins are dominated by muddy sediments, many of which are fed by glacial sedimentation and outlets from fjords, while shallow banks and shelf have a mix of more complex habitats. This first habitat classification map of the West Greenland shelf will be a useful tool for researchers, management and conservationists.

Type: Article
Title: Mapping and classifying the seabed of the West Greenland continental shelf
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2017.01.009
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2017.01.009
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0. Access may be initially restricted by the publisher.
Keywords: Benthic habitats; Habitat modelling; Vulnerable marine habitats; Deep sea; Trawling impact; Sea bed imaging
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1539285
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