Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Sea-Floor Mapping: Applications in Environmental Geology and Resource Management, Red Sea, Egypt

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18th Colloquium of African Geology, Graz

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The mapping of sea floor and benthic habitats is a frequently used tool in marine environmental geology to allow prediction or remediation of impacts. In this study, the spatial distribution of the most important subtidal habitats (coral reefs, coral carpets, seagrass meadows, sand with corals, macroids, mud, hardgrounds) and mangroves was mapped in northern Safaga Bay and at Ras Banas, Red Sea, Egypt. The approach used was diver-based, i.e. divers swam geo-referenced transects across the sample area and recorded bottom-type and composition. Coral associations were analyzed separately for their ecological and spatial patterns. This, coupled with information about major current patterns in the bay, provided a framework on which to base impact predictions for planned developments or those already under way. Since the entire shoreline of Safaga Bay and Ras Banas are earmarked for tourism development, the following impacts are already observed (Safaga Bay) and can be expected to worsen: dredging, coastal infilling, marina construction, alteration of inshore current patterns due to breakwater construction, eutrophication. The maps of habitats could be used by management authorities to license or forbid these activities in specific areas, thus avoiding damage to sensitive environments. Properly used, resource mapping is a powerful proactive management tool that allows resource managers to anticipate and avoid impacts early on.


Published in Journal of African Earth Sciences 30(4): 74-75

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