Scientia Marina, Vol 76, No 1 (2012)

Marine benthic cartography of the Cap de Creus (NE Catalan Coast, Mediterranean Sea)

Rafael Sardá
Centre d’Estudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC) , Spain

Sergi Rossi
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) , Spain

Xavier Martí
Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge, Generalitat de Catalunya , Spain

Josep Maria Gili
Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) , Spain


The marine benthic cartography of the Cap de Creus and surrounding areas (NW Mediterranean Sea) was obtained by combining classical grabbing methods with more recent imaging methods based on a remotely operated vehicle. The goals of this particular survey can be summarized as follows: 1) to chart the benthic communities (and the area of each one); 2) to evaluate the benthic diversity of the areas; 3) to produce visual documentation of the distributions of the benthic organisms; 4) to identify human-induced pressures on the benthic environment; 5) to make recommendations for future management based on the visual assessment; and 6) to set up a new methodology for making large biocenosis maps that would help to manage marine protected and non-protected areas. The marine environment off the Alt Empordà County was shown to have a very rich diversity of benthic habitats. Twenty community categories were identified from videos and grabs. Though benthic habitats mostly located inside a marine protected area were assessed, man-made objects were seen in 10% of the analyzed minutes filmed. The study led to a comprehensive review of the main biotope systems of this coastal area, as well as their environmental condition, and this will be an essential element for their future management.


benthic cartography; ROV; marine protected areas; NE catalan coast

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