Epibenthic Communities

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          Senckenberg am Meer
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          Ulrike Kleeberg
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          HZG Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht
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              Epibenthic Communities
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              Epibenthic communities in the south-eastern North Sea
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                  2018-08-23
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              individualName: 
                  Dr. Hermann Neumann
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                  Senckenberg am Meer
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                          Südstrand 40
                      city: 
                          26382 Wilhelmshaven
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                          hneumann@senckenberg.de
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          otherCitationDetails: 
              Neumann, H., Diekmann, R., Emeis, K. C., Kleeberg, U., Moll, A., & Kröncke, I. (2017). Full-coverage 
              spatial distribution of epibenthic communities in the south-eastern North Sea in relation to habitat 
              characteristics and fishing effort. Marine environmental research, 130, 1-11.
      abstract: 
          Data from nearly 400 stations were compiled for the study.Eight distinct epibenthic communities were found in 
          the south-eastern North Sea by using multivariate analysis. Distribution modelling with eight environmental 
          variables (bottom temperature and salinity, temperature differences between summer and winter, mud content 
          of sediments, maximum bottom shear stress, stratification, water depth and annual primary production) and 
          one human pressure (fishing effort) was used to extrapolate probable spatial distributions and to identify 
          associated habitat characteristics of the communities in the south-eastern North Sea. Three large epibenthic 
          communities “Coast”,“Oyster-ground” and “Tail End”reflect a gradual habitat change from the coast towards 
          offshore regions, expressed in gradients of bottom salinity, seasonal temperature differences and 
          stratification as the dominant environmental factors. Five smaller communities (“Amrum Bank”, “Frisian 
          Front”, “Deeps”,“Dogger Bank” and “Dogger Slope”) outline specific habitats in the south-eastern North Sea. 
          The “Dogger Slope”community has not been recognized before, but has a predicted spatial extent of 7118 km2.
      purpose: 
          Data from nearly 400 stations were compiled for the study. Eight distinct epibenthic communities were found in 
          the south-eastern North Sea by using multivariate analysis.
      credit: 
          Senckenberg am Meer (SaM)
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              Senckenberg am Meer
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                      Südstrand 40
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                      26382 Wilhelmshaven
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                      Hermann.Neumann@senckenberg.de
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              The definition of community boundaries in the map is based on expert knowledge and the “10 percentile 
              training presence logistic threshold”provided by the MAXENT analyses. Occurrence probability for each 
              community within the coloured area is always higher than 50%. In nature, the transition between 
              communities is rather gradual and lacks conspicuous boundaries. See publication for more information.
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              Acquisition and Processing Description:
              Epibenthic invertebrates were sampled at 398 stations in the south-eastern North Sea. Sampling took place 
              from 2000 to 2015 (except 2001 and 2002) with a standardized 2 m beam trawl fitted with a 20 mm net and 
              a cod end of 4 mm mesh size. In total, 119 species/taxa were used for epibenthic community analysis. 
              Hierarchical cluster analysis (group-average linking) and non-metric multidimensional scaling (nmMDS) 
              were applied on square-root-transformed abundance data to separate groups of stations with similar 
              community structure. For modelling a maximum entropy approach (MAXENT) was used based on eight 
              environmental variables: bottom temperature and salinity, temperature differences between summer and 
              winter, mud content of sediments, maximum bottom shear stress, stratification, depth and annual primary 
              production. In addition, fishing activities by bottom-contacting gears were quantified, representing the 
              most important human pressure on benthic species in the southern North Sea. Fifteen replicate runs were 
              performed for every community and averaged afterwards. The logistic output of the model is a 
              distribution map, which shows the probability of occurrence of epibenthic communities in the 
              south-eastern North Sea ranging from 0 to 100%. The MAXENT analyses provide the “10 percentile training 
              presence logistic threshold”, which was used to define areas where the occurrence of the communities was 
              most likely (the minimum probability of suitable habitat). See publication for more information.
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