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TitleHigh-resolution, habitat-suitability maps for the conservation and management of vulnerable marine ecosystems on the Louisville Seamount Chain, south Pacific Ocean
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorRowden, A A; Anderson, O F; Georgian, S E; Bowden, D A; Clark, M R; Pallentin, A; Miller, AORCID logo
SourceProgram and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada; by Todd, B JORCID logo; Brown, C J; Lacharité, M; Gazzola, V; McCormack, E; Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 8295, 2017 p. 102, Open Access logo Open Access
LinksGeoHab 2017
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Meeting2017 GeoHab: Marine Geological and Biological Habitat Mapping; Dartmouth, NS; CA; May 1-4, 2017
Documentopen file
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Program and abstracts: 2017 GeoHab Conference, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
File formatpdf
AreaPacific Ocean
Lat/Long WENS-178.0000 -145.0000 -25.0000 -50.0000
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; engineering geology; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; coastal studies; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; biological communities; environmental studies; ecosystems; modelling; bathymetry; seafloor topography; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; sonar surveys; side-scan sonar; photography; submarine features; seamounts; submarine ridges; marine sediments; reefs; Louisville Seamount Chain; Corals; Biology; Fisheries
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractVulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) are ecosystems at risk from the effects of fishing activity or other kinds of disturbance, as determined by the vulnerability of their components (e.g., habitats, communities or species). Habitat suitability modelling is being used increasingly to predict distribution patterns of VME indicator taxa in the deep sea (where data are particularly sparse), and the models are considered useful for marine ecosystem management.
The Louisville Seamount Chain is located within the South Pacific Regional Fishery Management Organisation (SPRFMO) Convention Area, and some seamounts are the subject of bottom trawling for orange roughy by the New Zealand fishery. The aim of the present study was to produce high-resolution, habitat suitability maps for VME indicator taxa and VME habitat on these seamounts, in order to aid the design of within-seamount spatial closures to protect VMEs.
We used a multi-model habitat suitability mapping approach, based on bathymetric and backscatter data collected by multibeam echo sounder survey, and data for the stony coral and habitat-forming VME indicator species Solenosmilia variablis collected by towed underwater camera. Maps resulting from our models showed that suitable habitat for this species is distributed around the summit-slope break of seamounts, and along ridges that extend down the seamount flanks. Only the flat, soft sediment summits are predicted to be unsuitable habitat for this stony coral species. We translated a definition for stony coral-reef habitat into a Solenosmilia variablis abundance-based threshold in order to use our models to map this VME habitat. These maps showed that coral-reef occurred in small and isolated patches, with most of the seamounts predicted to be unsuitable habitat for this VME.
We discuss the implications of these results for spatial management closures on the Louisville Seamount Chain seamounts and the wider SPRFMO area, and future modelling improvements that could aid efforts to use habitat suitability maps for managing the impact of fishing on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The sixteenth annual GeoHab Conference was held this year (2017) at the Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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