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TitleChallenges of biodiversity inventories in mosaic archipelagoes - a case study from the northern Baltic Sea
DownloadDownload (whole publication)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorViitasalo, M; Blankett, P; Ekebom, J; Hämäläinen, J; Kallasvuo, M; Kaskela, A; Koskelainen, M; Kostamo, K; Kotilainen, A; Kurvinen, L; Sahla, M; Virtanen, E; Westerbom, M; VELMU Programme participants
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. 117, 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
AreaBaltic Sea
Lat/Long WENS 10.0000 30.5000 66.0000 53.7500
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; environmental geology; geophysics; mapping techniques; oceanography; marine environments; conservation; marine organisms; marine ecology; resource management; biological communities; environmental studies; ecosystems; marine sediments; photography; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; sonar surveys; remote sensing; satellite imagery; modelling; planning; energy resources; Biology; Fisheries; Aquaculture; Wind energy
Illustrationslocation maps
ProgramOffshore Geoscience
Released2017 09 26
AbstractThe mosaic archipelagoes, high water turbidity, variable benthic habitats and very long shoreline of the Northern Baltic Sea make it costly and technically challenging to collect data that is useful for decision making concerning conservation and sustainable use of the marine environment.
The Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment (VELMU) has gathered information on species, communities and habitats during 2004-2016 from over 122,000 observation points. The data consists of 95,600 points made with drop-video or ROV, 23,200 with dive line points (from ca. 2000 dive sites), 1850 fish larvae sampling sites, >1000 benthos samples, 780 geological sediment samples, and 20,000 km of acoustic profiling (e.g. echosounding). In addition, satellite observations, LIDAR, aerial imaging with drones and automatic video platforms were used or tested. The majority of the data has been published in an open map service (
We present our national sampling design, by which the majority of data was collected cost-effectively in a 5 year time span (2011-2015). We show examples of our results, such as geographical distribution maps and spatial models for species, habitats, biodiversity and environmental factors. We also explain how the VELMU data has been used in marine spatial planning in the Finnish sea area. In the planning process, areas with high nature values were identified and given a high conservation priority, while other areas were identified as more suitable for human activities, such as aquaculture, wind energy production and ecotourism.
Based on our 13 years long experience we review the challenges of mapping species and habitats in complex marine environments, and provide a checklist for establishing a successful inventory programme in such conditions.
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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