WG2 – Underwater mapping, biogeography and biodiversity

WG2 – Underwater mapping, biogeography and biodiversity

Description of the WG2

The oceans have been exploited since humans first walked the Earth. Ocean exploration rapidly increased the last millennium, and today there is a vast array of engineering and technological solutions to visit and map out even the deepest parts of the ocean. Mapping the ocean has been integral to the discovery of MAFs worldwide, and has revealed the richness, the differences and the similarities of ocean life across the globe. This WG aims to improve our understanding of the factors that have shaped the biogeographical distribution and richness of MAF life in European waters and to increase public awareness of the occurrences and diversity of life associated with MAF ecosystems. In addition to WG8, also WG3, 4 and 5 will be directly linked with this WG2. 

Activity 1

Virtual map. Tasks: a. Make available all information about MAFs in Europe through virtual maps, at different scales of resolution depending on the area and on the available information. b. In-depth review of the available literature of biodiversity and biogeography (scientific, government and popular literature) will be coordinated; c. Connect with other similar initiatives around Europe and worldwide.

Activity 2

Coordinate the technical definitions of MAFs in European waters (and outside EU). Tasks: a. Establish direct contact with the Marine Strategy groups all over the EU. b. Define and settle a common language about MAFs. c. Define and include regional differences in densities, habitat associations and the biodiversity supported by MAFs.

Activity 3

Workshop. Tasks: a. Identify common protocols for underwater mapping data and interpretation, organizing a specific workshop to share the ideas and knowhow; b. Two different webinars will be also organized for as wide as possible a scientific, technical and stakeholder public. c. Elaboration of common protocols, shared and agreed upon by all the MAF-WORLD participants, available at the MAF-WORLD website.

Activity 4

Training School. Tasks: a. A training school on remote and robotic technologies to map MAFs (introduction to autonomous underwater vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, acoustic multibeam, etc.), biogeography (distribution of main groups, taxonomy, etc.) and biodiversity (evolution, new genetic tools, etc.); senior researchers and professors of the MAF-WORLD COST Action will fuel a platform in which the students will have the opportunity to make their master or graduation thesis: the co-direction among the different academic units will be stimulated, to improve mobility and an holistic vision for the students and young researchers. b. Selection, monitoring and follow-up of the STSM with WG1.