Seafloor Geomorphology as Benthic Habitat

1st Edition

GeoHAB Atlas of Seafloor Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats

Editors: Peter Harris Elaine Baker
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123851406
eBook ISBN: 9780123851413
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 23rd November 2011
Page Count: 936
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The conservation of marine benthic biodiversity is a recognised goal of a number of national and international programs such as the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). In order to attain this goal, information is needed about the distribution of life in the ocean so that spatial conservation measures such as marine protected areas (MPAs) can be designed to maximise protection within boundaries of acceptable dimensions. Ideally, a map would be produced that showed the distribution of benthic biodiversity to enable the efficient design of MPAs. The dilemma is that such maps do not exist for most areas and it is not possible at present to predict the spatial distribution of all marine life using the sparse biological information currently available.

Knowledge of the geomorphology and biogeography of the seafloor has improved markedly over the past 10 years. Using multibeam sonar, the benthic ecology of submarine features such as fjords, sand banks, coral reefs, seamounts, canyons, mud volcanoes and spreading ridges has been revealed in unprecedented detail.

This book provides a synthesis of seabed geomorphology and benthic habitats based on the most recent, up-to-date information. Introductory chapters explain the drivers that underpin the need for benthic habitat maps, including threats to ocean health, the habitat mapping approach based on principles of biogeography and benthic ecology and seabed (geomorphic) classification schemes. Case studies from around the world are then presented. They represent a range of seabed features where detailed bathymetric maps have been combined with seabed video and sampling to yield an integrated picture of the benthic communities that are associated with different types of benthic habitat. The final chapter examines critical knowledge gaps and future directions for benthic habitat mapping research.

Key Features

  • Reviews and compares the different methodologies currently being used
  • Includes global case studies
  • Provides geological expertise into what has traditionally been a biological discipline


Conservation planners and managers, conservation scientists, geologists, environmental managers, ecologists, and marine resource managers

Table of Contents




1. Why Map Benthic Habitats?

2. Habitat Mapping and Marine Management

3. Anthropogenic Threats to Benthic Habitats

4. Biogeography, Benthic Ecology, and Habitat Classification Schemes

5. Surrogacy

6. Seafloor Geomorphology—Coast, Shelf, and Abyss

7. Phanerogam Meadows

8. Predictive Modeling of Dominant Macroalgae Abundance on Temperate Island Shelves (Azores, Northeast Atlantic)

9. Methane-Related Carbonate Cementation of Marine Sediments and Related Macroalgal Coralligenous Assemblages in the Northern Adriatic Sea

10. Coastal Kelp Forest Habitat in the Baie des Chaleurs, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada

11. The Wadden Sea in the Netherlands

12. Sand Wave Field

13. Benthic Habitat Variations over Tidal Ridges, North Sea, the Netherlands

14. Fine-Scale Geomorphological Mapping of Sandbank Environments for the Prediction of Macrobenthic Occurrences, Belgian Part of the North Sea

15. Large Submarine Sand Waves and Gravel Lag Substrates on Georges Bank Off Atlantic Canada

16. The Yongala’s “Halo of Holes”—Systematic Bioturbation Close to a Shipwreck

17. Submarine De Geer Moraines in the Kvarken Archipelago, the Baltic Sea

18. Habitats and Benthos of an Evolving Fjord, Glacier Bay, Alaska

19. Geomorphic Features and Benthic Habitats of a Sub-Arctic Fjord

20. Seabed Character and Habitats of a Rocky Antarctic Coastline

21. Fringing Reefs of the Seychelles Inner Granitic Islands, Western Indian Ocean

22. Coral Reefs and Reef Islands of the Amirantes Archipelago, Western Indian Ocean

23. Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of the Geomorphic Features and Habitats of the Al Wajh Bank Reef System, Saudi Arabia, Red Sea

24. Mesophotic Coral Reefs of the Puerto Rico Shelf

25. Geomorphic Features and Infauna Diversity of a Subtropical Mid-Ocean C


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About the Editor

Peter Harris

Affiliations and Expertise

Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia

Elaine Baker

Affiliations and Expertise