A research consortium consisting of four scientific institutions from Greenland, Denmark and the UK has launched a program to develop a best practice protocol for mapping benthic habitats in arctic regions. This protocol is relevant for fisheries management, which is a primary sector in Greenland, and environmental impact assessments, and thus contributes to advice on the management of Greenland’s natural resources. Our vision is to develop a robust and effective tool for mapping seabed habitats in strategically important areas of Greenland. The research program’s comprehensive methodology combines acoustic surveys with in situ sampling techniques:
(I) Acoustic seabed mapping /multi-beam sonar/ provides an accurate representation of submerged morphology and information on geology, seabed sediment types, potential biogenic structures, such as sea sponge grounds and cold-water coral reefs.
(II) In situ sampling /drop camera, video sledge, day grab/ provides detailed descriptions of sediments and information on the abundance, distribution, diversity and production of the benthic biological communities and associated fish.
(III) The combination of data from I and II provides a baseline for generating digital terrain models, habitat maps, vulnerable habitat maps and biotope maps.