habitatSeabed habitat quantification is an emerging field which has been stimulated by the potential benefits of the Blue Economy. This is the most applied type of science I conduct, and benefits from the cross-fertilisation of methods and ideas that are more evolved in the purer research areas I am involved in. The work addresses the need to better understand the spatial distribution of biological resources on continental shelves to allow more informed decisions over the potential environmental impact of human activities (such as wind farm installations, aquaculture, communication cable laying etc). The problem to be solved is how to achieve seabed (benthic) habitat mapping with a spatial resolution and accuracy that closely matches that of terrestrial mapping.  Currently seabed characterization relies on direct sampling with spot grabs which is both costly and gives an incomplete picture of the environment. We use an emerging technology, acoustic backscatter collected during multibeam bathymetric profiling, that can provide 100% seabed coverage to tackle this issue. To-date I have completed projects on the UK continental shelf (as part of an artificial reef project in Scotland and as part of the Marine Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund) as well as on coral reefs in the Seychelles.

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