Benthic Habitat

Committee | Minutes (coming soon) | Projects

Subtidal benthic habitats, or subtidal bottom habitats, include a range of seabed habitat types (e.g. rocky, muddy, sandy, reefs) and support lobsters, groundfish, and other commercially important bottom-dwelling species, including sea cucumbers, urchins, scallops, shrimp and mussels.

Setting goals for subtidal benthic habitats will benefit multiple species, however no goal has been set by the FBP at this point. The first step in goal-setting will be identifying the spatial variation within the bay: what types of habitats and organisms do we have?

Strategies for information gathering
Benthic surveying

In the summer 2013, using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to collect video footage as well as a grab sampler, MDIBL collected benthic community data from historically important fishing grounds as well as sites that were surveyed in the late 1920s by William Procter. These data will be used to examine changes in marine communities at these sites over time and will also provide valuable baseline information for creating maps of the subtidal benthic habitats and communities in Frenchman Bay, which will help to inform goal-setting. Additional surveys will be necessary to increase our knowledge of the diversity and distribution of habitats and species in the bay.

Develop a monitoring program
Once we have a good idea of the habitats and communities within the bay, the development of a benthic monitoring program will help us to track changes from this baseline and identify potential sources of change. A monitoring program should include consistent monitoring of historic or unique sites of interest as well as monitoring of random sites in the bay to provide a broad picture of the bay and changes over time.