Habitat Mapping for Conservation and Management of the Southern Irish Sea

Staff: Teresa Darbyshire, Andrew Mackie, & Kate Mortimer-Jones, [and others including Karen Robinson, Charlie Lindenbaum & Kirsten Ramsay (Countryside Council for Wales), Fionnuala McBreen & James Wilson (Trinity College Dublin), and Katrin van Langdem & Andy Wheeeler (Cork University)]

Supported by the EU INTERREG IIIA Wales-Ireland Programme, the HABMAP partnership draws together expertise in marine biodiversity, geophysics, sedimentology and habitat-mapping. The project seeks to use existing and new knowledge of seabed life to map southern Irish Sea habitats and produce a predictive model that can be used for conservation and management purposes. The maps produced by the biotope modellers will contribute toward a range of practical applications, including sensitivity mapping, marine spatial planning and impact modelling.

A dedicated seabed sampling programme was undertaken to provide new enhanced datasets, suitable for testing the model and enabling suitable adjustments to be made. The Marine Biodiversity Section in the Museum is involved in the new seabed faunal surveys and is contributing to the habitat categorisations, as well as producing the final report. The project outputs include the creation of a website (www.habmap.org), an integrated GIS of seabed biotopes, a project scientific report, and an interactive DVD-ROM.

South West Irish Sea Survey