The objective of this project was to generate seabed habitat maps for locations with full coverage acoustic datasets to as detailed a hierarchical level as possible within the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland (version 04.05), also known as MNCR classification, (Connor et al. 2004). The acoustic data were at various stages of processing and interpretation, therefore the mapping of habitats and biotopes in some areas have required a greater amount of work to reach the same level compared to other areas.
The constituent polygons within the habitat/biotope maps are labelled to an appropriate level of the Habitat Classification and translated to the corresponding EUNIS code.
In order to generate seabed habitat maps for the areas the data associated with each area were required to undergo some preliminary preparation and processing in order to ensure suitability and compatibly with the mapping methodologies employed.
The data were then processed using several techniques: a top-down approach was adopted based on the methods developed by MESH and UKSeaMap and used by EUSeaMap, which utilised the updated seabed substrate information provided by BGS. In addition a bottom up approach was taken to utilise the recently acquired point sample data and bathymetry and backscatter data sets, and this process took an object based approach supplemented by supervised classification and categorisation.
Three maps for each MPA proposal have been produced (the level of habitat detail which could be mapped was restricted to level 3 or 4 of the EUNIS classification and level 2 or 3 of the MNCR classification) with associated metadata and peripheral supplementary data to aid in future analysis and interpretation. A confidence assessment using the MESH confidence assessment method has been undertaken for each habitat map produced and certainty of classification maps accompany each habitat map also.
Additional information source:
Sotheran, I. & Crawford-Avis, O., (2014), Mapping habitats and biotopes from acoustic datasets to strengthen the information base of Marine Protected Areas in Scottish waters, JNCC Report 503, ISSN 0963 8901