MEPS 219:121-137 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps219121

Benthic habitat mapping on the Scotian Shelf based on multibeam bathymetry, surficial geology and sea floor photographs

Vladimir E. Kostylev1,*, Brian J. Todd2, Gordon B. J. Fader2, R. C. Courtney2, Gordon D. M. Cameron3, Richard A. Pickrill2

1EcoVector, 215 Oceanview Drive, Bedford, Nova Scotia B4A 4G9, Canada
2Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic), PO Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada
3Cameron Geoscience Research, 55B Kennedy Drive, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2X 1N6, Canada

ABSTRACT: This study presents results of a new approach for sea floor habitat mapping based on an integrated analysis of multibeam bathymetric data, associated geoscientific information, and benthos data from Browns Bank on the southwestern Scotian Shelf, off the Canadian Atlantic coast. Based on sea floor sediment maps and statistical analysis of megabenthos determined from photographs, 6 habitats and corresponding associations of benthos were derived and mapped. The habitats are distinguished primarily on the basis of sediment type and water depth. Additional factors are sea floor geomorphology, habitat complexity, and relative current strength. A Browns Bank benthic habitat map is developed as a conceptual model summarizing the understanding of the bank ecology. This study highlights the utility of multibeam bathymetric sonar for interpretation of sea floor sediments and for extrapolating benthic habitat characteristics across large areas of sea floor.


KEY WORDS: Habitat mapping · Benthos · Multibeam · Sediment · Scotian Shelf


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