Assessing the Sensitivity of Seabed Species and Biotopes – The Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN)
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Science-based approaches to support the conservation of marine biodiversity have been developed in recent years. They include measures of ‘rarity’, ‘diversity’, ‘importance’, biological indicators of water ‘quality’ and measures of ‘sensitivity’. Identifying the sensitivity of species and biotopes, the main topic of this contribution, relies on accessing and interpreting available scientific data in a structured way and then making use of information technology to disseminate suitably presented information to decision makers. The Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) has achieved that research for a range of environmentally critical species and biotopes over the past four years and has published the reviews on the MarLIN Web site (www.marlin.ac.uk). Now, by linking the sensitivity database and databases of survey information, sensitivity mapping approaches using GIS are being developed. The methods used to assess sensitivity are described and the approach is advocated for wider application in Europe.
Key words:biotopes conservation GIS management sensitivity species
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