A species- and traits-based approach to predictive mapping of the distribution and diversity of costal benthic assemblages

Nemani, Shreya (2022) A species- and traits-based approach to predictive mapping of the distribution and diversity of costal benthic assemblages. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Maps of seafloor habitats are important for managing marine areas as they delineate distinct regions of the seabed based on their bio-physical characteristics. Spatially continuous sonar-derived bathymetry and backscatter data, and derivative terrain and textural features are used to predict the distribution of species and communities. Various technical and conceptual methods have been recommended to develop more accurate and informative habitat maps. In support of current literature recognizing the importance of scale in determining species occurrence, Chapter 2 recommends a feature selection method for studies using multiple scales to calculate geomorphic features. Based on this information, full-coverage habitat maps of species assemblages across two coastal sites are predicted. Additionally, Chapter 3 proposes biological traits analysis (BTA) to assess the functional composition of species assemblages, and models continuous maps depicting the spatial distribution of taxonomic and functional diversity metrics. Since current methods to develop habitat maps mainly use a taxonomic approach based on species community composition, a functional traits-based approach assessing a species’ behaviour, life-history, and morphology provides a stronger link to broader ecosystem functions for the region. Together, these results are complimentary and provide spatially explicit management tools to support evidence-based decision-making in a changing marine environment.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/15386
Item ID: 15386
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: habitat mapping, coastal ecology, predictive mapping, spatial modelling, benthic ecology
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: May 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/9W4E-SR71
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Coastal ecology; Sublittoral ecology; Benthic ecology; Ecological mapping; Submarine topography; Ocean bottom ecology; Benthos--Habitat; Geological mapping; Spatial analysis (Statistics).

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