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Ecological typologies of large areas. An application in the Mediterranean Sea

Abstract: One approach to identifying and mapping the state of marine biophysical conditions is the identification of large-scale ecological units for which conditions are similar and the strategies of management may also be similar. Because biological processes are difficult to directly record over large areas, abiotic characteristics are used as surrogate parameters. In this work, the Mediterranean Sea was classified into homogeneous spatial areas based on abiotic variables. Eight parameters were selected based on salinity, sea surface temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, sea-wave heights and depth variables. The parameters were gathered in grid points of 0.5° spatial resolution in the open sea and 0.125° in coastal areas. The typologies were obtained by data mining the eight parameters throughout the Mediterranean and combining two clustering techniques: self-organizing maps and the k-means algorithm. The result is a division of the Mediterranean Sea into seven typologies. For these typologies, the classification recognizes differences in temperature, salinity and radiation. In addition, it separates coastal from deep areas. The influence of river discharges and the entrance of water from other seas are also reflected. These results are consistent with the ecological requirements of the five studied seagrasses (Posidonia oceanica, Zostera marina, Zostera noltei, Cymodocea nodosa, Halophila stipulacea), supporting the suitability of the resulting classification and the proposed methodology. The approach thus provides a tool for the sustainable management of large marine areas and the ability to address not only present threats but also future conditions, such as climate change.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Fuente: Journal of Environmental Management, 2018, 205, 59-72

Editorial: Academic Press

 Fecha de publicación: 01/01/2018

Nº de páginas: 14

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: /10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.09.058

ISSN: 0301-4797,1095-8630

 Proyecto español: CTM2015-68244-R

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.09.058