Marine benthic cartography of the Cap de Creus (NE Catalan Coast, Mediterranean Sea)
Rafael Sardá, Sergi Rossi, Xavier Martí and Josep Maria Gili
The marine benthic cartography of the Cap de Creus and surrounding areas (NW Mediterranean Sea) was obtained by combining classical grabbing methods with more recent imaging methods based on a remotely operated vehicle. The goals of this particular survey can be summarized as follows: 1) to chart the benthic communities (and the area of each one); 2) to evaluate the benthic diversity of the areas; 3) to produce visual documentation of the distributions of the benthic organisms; 4) to identify human-induced pressures on the benthic environment; 5) to make recommendations for future management based on the visual assessment; and 6) to set up a new methodology for making large biocenosis maps that would help to manage marine protected and non-protected areas. The marine environment off the Alt Empordà County was shown to have a very rich diversity of benthic habitats. Twenty community categories were identified from videos and grabs. Though benthic habitats mostly located inside a marine protected area were assessed, man-made objects were seen in 10% of the analyzed minutes filmed. The study led to a comprehensive review of the main biotope systems of this coastal area, as well as their environmental condition, and this will be an essential element for their future management.
Keywords: benthic cartography, ROV, marine protected areas, NE catalan coast
Sci. Mar. 76(1) : 159-171
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