Habitat mapping to support marine spatial planning


Habitat mapping to support marine spatial planning

Habitat mapping to support marine spatial planning

Offshore seabed and habitat mapping is a priority for Belize and Dominica, especially in ecologically sensitive areas. With an increased tensioning between the different users of the marine space (e.g. fisheries, tourism, marine conservation), there is an urgent need for accurate habitat maps to help inform the marine spatial planning process. To support the Belizean and Dominican governments with their marine spatial planning, we will conduct a marine habitat mapping programme focussed on priority areas identified by local stakeholders. In Belize this will include the coral reefs, cays and coastal environments that are being investigated by the Impact of land-use changes on marine environments project, while the Dominican survey will include Macouba Bank. The habitat mapping approaches will apply the most efficient, objective and robust techniques currently available, and will make full use of the Containerised Autonomous Marine Environmental Laboratory being deployed in the region.



Belize; Dominica


Veerle Huvenne
Principal Investigator

James Strong


Latest News

Characterising the environmental sensitivity of Belizean coastal waters

Oct 2019
Coral Reef Belize A month long fieldwork campaign has begun in Belizean coastal waters which will enhance understanding of the sensitivities of these fragile environments to the impacts of both human activities and climate change. Dr Christopher Pearce, programme lead for the NOC, said “Belizean coastal environments are some of the most fragile in the world, and are facing a combination of challenges from both human and climate change factors.  In collaboration with our Belizean colleagues we will be...

High biodiversity discovered in abyssal areas of Kiribati

Sep 2019
A study led by National Oceanography Centre (NOC) scientists, recently published in Frontiers in Marine Science, presents the first ever images of animals living below 4000 metres within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Kiribati, a remote island group in the Pacific. Industry-collected seabed photos revealed a high diversity, but low abundance, of complex animals. The majority of the observed seabed life was single-celled giant forams. This is comparable to similar...