Mapeamento de Biodiversidade e Habitats
The knowledge of spatial distribution of species and habitats is crucial for the design, implementation and management of marine protected areas as well as for fisheries management and marine spatial planning. Our research focus on several marine conservation and management themes, all with a strong spatial component:
- seabed habitat mapping and classification;
- habitat and species distribution modelling;
- conservation planning;
- monitoring of marine protected areas;
- species home range and connectivity;
- ecological niche;
- seascape genetics;
- catch and yield per unit of effort (CPUE and RVUE) distribution;
- ecological health assessment;
- ecosystem services mapping;
- ecosystem-based marine spatial management;
- marine spatial planning scenarios.
The huge amount of data with spatial information about habitats and species that we collect is used to feed national and international databases and geoportals, such as SNIMAR, OBIS, ALGABASE, FISHBASE, WORMS and EMODNET. The knowledge we build up and the maps and models we produce are used to support the application of several European policies such as the Habitats and Birds (NATURA 2000 Network), EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Maritime Spatial Planning Directive.
We are paying special concern into the detection, modelling and mapping of essential fish habitats and priority habitats (e.g.: those included in the NATURA 2000 Network, OSPAR and Barcelona conventions, UN Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems and EBSAs - Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas). These include coastal lagoons and estuaries, seagrass meadows, kelp forests, maerl beds, coral gardens, sponge aggregations, seamounts and submarine canyons. We also pay particular attention to species that are vulnerable or have a protection status such as seagrasses, red coral, sea cucumbers, rays and sharks, seahorses, marine turtles and dolphins (HD, IUCN, OSPAR, Berna Convention, CITES).
Our research in spatial distribution of species and habitats is particularly important to marine conservation and management. As so, we are actively promoting marine protected areas (MPA) as a management tool. Our efforts include:
- creating a new international MPA classification systems;
- promoting new MPAs with a strong stakeholder participation component;
- improving the information and monitoring systems of several MPAs (e.g. PNSACV, PMLS, PNRF);
- and establishing a national network of MPAs.
Moreover, we are mapping human activities such as fisheries in order to include the resulting maps into the process of Marine Spatial planning. This will enable the establishment of more effective MPAs and a better accommodation of new maritime activities, namely offshore aquacultures and renewable energies.