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Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in submarine canyons

Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in submarine canyons
Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in submarine canyons

Spatial variability in environmental conditions has been attributed as the main driver behind marine biodiversity in structurally complex environments. Despite this, spatial heterogeneity, reflecting terrain organisation of environmental conditions, is seldom quantified in the marine environment, especially at regional scale. In contrast, quantification of spatial patterns has been widely applied to characterise structural features of terrestrial landscapes and has been demonstrated to be of great use in landscape ecology and spatial planning. To address this discrepancy, we use landscape ecology indices (entropy-based contagion) and objective automated marine landscape mapping techniques to quantify marine landscape heterogeneity and evaluate the use of this metric as proxy for biodiversity in submarine canyons. Submarine canyons enhance marine landscape diversity at regional scales and provide unique habitats for diverse and abundant faunal assemblages. The deep and complex topography, strong currents and occurrence of specific oceanographic patterns affect the habitat heterogeneity potentially making canyons a hotspot for biological activity, with high faunal diversity. Here, multibeam bathymetry and sidescan sonar imagery were used to generate a marine landscape map for Whittard Canyon, NE Atlantic, using objective automated classification and object-based image analysis (OBIA). The resulting marine landscape map was characterised by seven landscape types, of which five were found to be ecologically relevant using species indicator analysis (INDVAL). Spatial heterogeneity within the landscape map was then quantified with the entropy-based contagion index. Differences in the entropy-based contagion index were highly significant between canyon branches and the lower canyon. The two main canyon branches were not significantly different from each other. Differences in entropy-based contagion value across seabed areas can help to determine areas suitable for the establishment of Marine Protected Area.

Contagion index, Entropy-based contagion index, Landscape ecology, Marine spatial planning, Quantification of spatial patterns, Submarine canyons
0079-6611
1-18
Ismail, Khaira
e59d7dad-1923-4886-91ab-b5deb532d97c
Huvenne, Veerle
f22be3e2-708c-491b-b985-a438470fa053
Robert, Katleen
49e4bfa2-0999-41ec-b50d-65c0f8896583
Ismail, Khaira
e59d7dad-1923-4886-91ab-b5deb532d97c
Huvenne, Veerle
f22be3e2-708c-491b-b985-a438470fa053
Robert, Katleen
49e4bfa2-0999-41ec-b50d-65c0f8896583

Ismail, Khaira, Huvenne, Veerle and Robert, Katleen (2018) Quantifying spatial heterogeneity in submarine canyons. Progress in Oceanography, 1-18. (doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2018.03.006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Spatial variability in environmental conditions has been attributed as the main driver behind marine biodiversity in structurally complex environments. Despite this, spatial heterogeneity, reflecting terrain organisation of environmental conditions, is seldom quantified in the marine environment, especially at regional scale. In contrast, quantification of spatial patterns has been widely applied to characterise structural features of terrestrial landscapes and has been demonstrated to be of great use in landscape ecology and spatial planning. To address this discrepancy, we use landscape ecology indices (entropy-based contagion) and objective automated marine landscape mapping techniques to quantify marine landscape heterogeneity and evaluate the use of this metric as proxy for biodiversity in submarine canyons. Submarine canyons enhance marine landscape diversity at regional scales and provide unique habitats for diverse and abundant faunal assemblages. The deep and complex topography, strong currents and occurrence of specific oceanographic patterns affect the habitat heterogeneity potentially making canyons a hotspot for biological activity, with high faunal diversity. Here, multibeam bathymetry and sidescan sonar imagery were used to generate a marine landscape map for Whittard Canyon, NE Atlantic, using objective automated classification and object-based image analysis (OBIA). The resulting marine landscape map was characterised by seven landscape types, of which five were found to be ecologically relevant using species indicator analysis (INDVAL). Spatial heterogeneity within the landscape map was then quantified with the entropy-based contagion index. Differences in the entropy-based contagion index were highly significant between canyon branches and the lower canyon. The two main canyon branches were not significantly different from each other. Differences in entropy-based contagion value across seabed areas can help to determine areas suitable for the establishment of Marine Protected Area.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 11 March 2018
Keywords: Contagion index, Entropy-based contagion index, Landscape ecology, Marine spatial planning, Quantification of spatial patterns, Submarine canyons

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421594
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421594
ISSN: 0079-6611
PURE UUID: 15e6510d-8f17-4de0-81da-b980f76e2d37
ORCID for Veerle Huvenne: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7135-6360

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 15 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:49

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