Benthic Habitats and the Effects of Fishing

Symposium Abstract: usSEABED: Towards Unifying Knowledge of Geologic Conrols on Benthic Habitats

J. A. Reid, C. J. Jenkins, M. E. Field, M. Zimmermann, S. J. Williams, J. M. Currence, C. E. Box, and J. V. Gardner

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781888569605.ch33

The identification of benthic habitat is based, in part, on its underlying geologic character. While some geologic characteristics can be inferred through bathymetry and remotely sensed imagery, knowledge based on actual sampling of the seabed, either through cores or through photography, can be expensive to collect, and in the latter case, difficult to quantify and assess. Hundreds of thousands of sediment cores, photographs, and videos have been collected along the continental shelves of the United States, in very large and very small research efforts, for various purposes and using a variety of equipment. We unify these sets, both numerical lab-based data and word-based data from from core logs, photos, and videos, where we apply fuzzy set theory to parse values from graphed meanings. These quantified combined data are mined for information useful for geologists, biologists, and ecologists into an linked information system, usSEABED, mappable in GISs and queriable in RDBs. We present a ever-growing integrated look at the character of the surficial seabed of the United States (to about 100m depth, where available) that includes textural information, degree of hardness, presence of biota, basic chemistry, and critical shear strength, to name a few. While these data are useful in their own right, most data held within usSEABED are available as baselines for habitat identification and assessment, or in combination with oceanographic, biologic, or geophysical data to a more complete understanding of a variety of critical processes necessary for effective resource management.