Hoburg’s Bank south of Gotland has high conservation values, which we already knew. A current project is now mapping the bank’s conservation values by combining modern hydrographic surveys with biological sampling and modeling. The result will be high-resolution maps showing the distribution of benthic species and the biotopes related to high conservation values. During the hydrographic survey, data about the reflectance of the bottom (back-scatter) also has been collected, which helps to strengthen the mapping of species and substrates. Data from the survey is very detailed, homogeneous and precise. A much higher level of detail can be achieved in the biological maps by basing the map analysis on this detailed data. The survey is conducted by SGU, and AquaBiotas role is to analyze the collected benthic data and produce marine biological maps. SLU Aqua also participates and analyzes fish. The project is a pilot project funded by the Swedish Marine and Water Administration which aims to investigate the synergies between hydrographic surveys and marine biological mapping, which will give the possibility to use data from regular hydrographic surveys for mapping of conservation values in a better way. A second objective of the project is, of course, to produce high quality conservation value maps of Hoburg bank! The project will continue throughout the year and is expected to end in December.
AquaBiota have previously investigated the possibility of using hydrographic survey data for biological mapping. The project report, in Swedish, can be found at AquaBiotas web site:
Carlsson, T., Wijkmark, N., Isaeus, M., Didrikas, T. & Wikmar, A. 2016: Kartering av bentiska biotoper med hjälp av flerstråligt ekolod – En pilotstudie om utökad användning av sjömätningsdata. AquaBiota Report 2016:03. 74 sid.