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Direct mapping or predictive?

Maps on marine benthic biodiversity is a key component for sustainable management and planning of coastal areas. The question is how to get them.

There are two fundamentally different approaches to acheive comprehensive maps of marine biodiversity - direct or predictive mapping. Direct mapping refers to situations when maps are constructed from complete censuses rather than by scattered samples.

In general we conclude that:

  1. Direct mapping is preferable whenever it is practically and economically possible. If we can measure everywhere there is no need for modelling!
  2. Direct mapping of biological features is currently only possible for shallow areas and for coarse categories of vegetation.
  3. Predictive mapping is necessary when maps are based on sampling methods where data are collected in discrete samples such as cores, quadrates, photos or videos.
  4. Predictive mapping is necessary for mapping biodiversity, individual species of vegetation or animals in shallow or deeper areas.


The research within PREHAB is not focused on studies where the whole area can be directly mapped. Therefore, we choose not to publish information on methods for direct mapping. There are other sources for this, for example the Australian web site OzCoast.


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