Benthic ecosystem mapping for sustainable ocean stewardship in a shifting ocean climate

The seafloor is extremely important for ocean health, providing habitat for many ocean animals, but marine industries like fishing and shipping place enormous pressure on this ecosystem. Surprisingly, only a small fraction of the seafloor has been mapped at the levels needed for us to understand ocean seafloor processes. This project aims to address data gaps in the Northwest Atlantic and help predict how threats like climate change will drive changes to vulnerable marine life on and near the seafloor.

Project details

Principal Investigator(s):
Craig Brown
Principal Investigator:
Katleen Robert
Project Start Date:
Project End Date:
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Research Outcomes

About the research project

About the research

Researchers will study the seafloor at large and small scales to better understand the role of seafloor habitats in how ocean species respond to climate change. In partnership with the Ocean Supercluster, the research team will map the ocean floor at selected study sites using innovative technologies. Because of the massive amount of data generated through mapping, scientists will also work with DeepSense to develop appropriate big data analysis techniques. To achieve the best results, the team will evaluate all available ways to collect data, including: working with Indigenous groups to understand the role of Local Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Knowledge; connecting natural and social science; and collaborating with multiple ocean industries and stakeholders.  

Principal Investigators


  • Dalhousie University    
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland    
  • Kraken Robotics    
  • Clearwater Seafoods    
  • Nunavut Fisheries Association    
  • Quality Positioning Services    
  • R2Sonic    
  • Dartmouth Ocean Technologies Inc.  
  • Leeway Marine    
  • Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association    
  • Fishermen and Scientists Research Society    
  • Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel, Germany    
  • Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory  
  • National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
  • University of Florida,    
  • Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo
  • Nova Scotia Community College    
  • University of New Brunswick    
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Development in Oceans Mapping    
  • Ocean School    
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada    
  • Canadian Hydrographic Service    
  • Natural Resources Canada    
  • DeepSense    
  • Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute