State of the knowledge on European marine habitat mapping and degraded habitats

dario.fiorentino [ at ]


During the last decades, several EU Directives and other international legislations have generated a large number of national initiatives (e.g. marine atlases) and EU programmes on habitat mapping. Nevertheless, the outcomes of these initiatives are fragmented and, to our best knowledge, to date there is no systematic assessment regarding the nature, quality and availability of information across the European seas. One of the main goals of the MERCES project ( is to produce a census of available maps of European key marine habitats, along with their degradation status and restoration potential in the European Seas, providing a potential basis for future discussion on restoration activities. MERCES is producing a census of European marine key habitat maps, degraded habitat maps and investigating key habitat restoration potential. To do this MERCES has i. reviewed known existing habitat maps of European regional seas and provided source citations for all of the information ii. reviewed degraded habitat map resources by regional sea and habitat type (e.g. seagrass, macroalgae, coral gardens, sponge aggregations, seamounts, vents), associated habitat deterioration (e.g. extent of decline), the most common human activities and pressures reported, and the recovery and restoration potential of these habitats iii. reviewed 6 key habitats (including kelp and macroalgal forests, seagrass meadows, coralligenous assemblages, coral gardens and deep-sea bottom communities) and linked 6 major habitat features, such as dynamics, connectivity, structural complexity and vulnerability, to consequences for restoration and the likelihood of restoration success

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Bekkby, T. , Gerovasileiou, V. , Papadopoulou, N. , Sevastou, K. , Dailianis, T. , Fiorentino, D. , McOwen, C. , Smith, C. , Amaro, T. , Bakran-Petricioli, T. , Bilan, M. , Boström, C. , Carreiro-Silva, M. , Carugati, L. , Cebrian, E. , Cerrano, C. , Christie, H. , Danovaro, R. , Grace Tunka Eronat, E. , Fraschetti, S. , Gagnon, K. , Gambi, C. , Kizilkaya, I. T. , Kotta, J. , Linares, C. , Milanese, M. , Morato, T. , Ojaveer, H. , Orav-Kotta, H. , Pham, C. K. , Rinde, E. , Sarà, A. and Scrimgeour, R. (2017): State of the knowledge on European marine habitat mapping and degraded habitats , [Other]

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