Mateos-Molina, Daniel, Marina Antonopoulou, Rob Baldwin, Ivonne Bejarano, John A. Burt, Jose A. García-Charton, Saif M. Al-Ghais, Jayanthi Walgamage, and Oliver J. S. Taylor. 2020. “Applying an Integrated Approach to Coastal Marine Habitat Mapping in the North-Western United Arab Emirates.” Marine Environmental Research 161:105095. doi: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2020.105095.
Habitat mapping is essential for the management and conservation of coastal marine habitats. However, accurate and up-to-date habitat maps are rarely available for the marine realm. In this study, we mapped the coastal marine habitats of >400 km of coastline in the north-western United Arab Emirates (UAE) using a combination of data sources including remote sensing, extensive ground-truthing points, local expert knowledge and existing information. We delineated 17 habitats, including critical habitats for marine biodiversity such as coral reefs and mangroves, and previously unreported oyster beds and deep seagrasses. This innovative approach was able to produce a coastal marine habitat map with an overall accuracy of 77%. The approach allowed for the production of a spatial tool well-suited for the needs of environmental management and conservation in a previously data-deficient area of the United Arab Emirates.
Fig. 4. Coastal Marine habitat map for the north-western emirates, UAE, 2019.