WP2 - Mapping of habitats, human impacts and ecosystem services

The definition of deep benthic habitats may be an important tool for marine environment management. In fact, modern technologies enable to define in detail seabed geo-bio-morphological characteristics. Subsequently, chemical and physical parameters acquisition and targeted sampling surveys, targeted at biota definition, allow to reach a definition of benthic habitats in different spatial resolution.

The detailed knowledge of spatial distribution of habitats and biological communities linked to them, allows defining, monitoring and conservation of environment quality, optimizing the exploitation of demersal resources and use regulation and seabed exploitation.

The activities of this WP also help to develop new approaches for the recovery of contaminated waters associated with spills of toxic and / or hazardous substances and then provide timely responses to these events. Since the mapping of deep environments require advanced tools for the definition of the seabed character, it stimulates the development of technology, currently poorly tested, suitable for monitoring / recovery / remediation of contaminated areas in deep marine environment. In addition, thanks to the pilot studies carried out, the assessment of ecosystem services loss is gained, as a result of the effects of characterization and classification of habitats, emphasizing the multi-and inter-disciplinary.

Goods and ecosystem services provided by deep marine environments are defined and valued, as well is carried out the analysis of human activity impacts on biodiversity and on the functioning of these ecosystems together with the estimate of potential impairment of the goods and services they offer. The work focus on pioneering studies in pilot areas, chosen for the assessment of the effect of human impact on benthic habitats and on ecosystem goods and services loss.

The WP is divided into the following activities:

  • AZ1 - Development of integrated methods for habitat mapping to assess biotic and abiotic resources

  • AZ2 - Contaminants discharge, transfer and diffusion processes and their effects on deep sea ecosystems

  • AZ3 - Evaluation of deep-sea ecosystem services and their possible decrease due to environmental change, both anthropogenic and natural

  • AZ4 - Interactions between bottom currents and specific topographic structures and effects on the seabed


WP leader Eleonora Martorelli - IGAG