Predicting distribution of benthic macro-invertebrates

October 15, 2010

As part of the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP), the Habitat Ecology Team has been collaborating with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and others to create a suite of maps of seafloor morphology, geology, and potential benthic habitats derived from high-resolution multibeam sonar data collected within state waters (shoreline to 3 nautical miles offshore). We are using a towed camera sled to groundtruth these data and to survey biological components of the habitats. From presence/absence of macro-invertebrates associated with specific sediment types, depth, and latitude, we have developed multivariate models using logistic regression to predict the distribution of five taxa: brittle stars, hydroids, cup corals, tall sea pens, and short sea pens. Coupling these results with spatial information on sediment type and depth, we have created maps of probability of occurrence of these important components of seafloor communities. These maps will provide managers, policy makers, and the public with information that can be used in the conservation and management of sustainable marine resources. We have demonstrated this approach using data from the Santa Barbara Channel in southern California.


Sea pen (click to view full-size image)

Tall sea pen at 82 meters on soft sediment.

Algae (click to view full-size image)

Algae at 17 meters on rock outcrop.

Rockfish, gorgonian, and cup coral (click to view full-size image)

Rockfish, gorgonian, and cup coral at 85 meters on hard, rock outcrop.

Learn more:

Krigsman, Lisa M., Mary M. Yoklavich, E.J. Dick, and Guy R. Cochrane. 2012. Models and maps: predicting the distribution of corals and other benthic macro-invertebrates in shelf habitats. Ecosphere 3(1):art3 (16 p.).
(View document on publisher's siteThe previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer -- open access.)

California Seafloor Mapping Program

Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Habitat Ecology Team

Last modified: 12/24/2014