EAF-Nansen Programme

Workshop: Statistical analysis to identify habitats, as part of the project: “visual seafloor mapping of the Cabo Delgado in Mozambique.”


The second workshop within the project "visual habitat mapping of the Cabo Delgado" took place from 18 to 22 November 2019 at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway, and gathered altogether 12 participants, including five representatives from Mozambique.

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Some of the participants of the 2nd workshop within the project "visual habitat mapping
of the Cabo Delgado" held in 2019 at the IMR institute in Norway © IMR

The team convened also earlier last year for the first training, which was held in Maputo, Mozambique, and which focused on the analysis of the video material coming from an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), including fish and benthos (organisms living near the bottom of the sea) identification. The purpose of the second, most recent meeting was to train the participants in statistical analysis of data collected from the video study from the first workshop. During this exercise, the attendants were learning how to identify habitats by establishing a connection between environmental settings and the distribution patters of the video-recorded benthos.

The habitat mapping project has as its main objective to identify and characterise habitats and biodiversity hotspots in the Cabo Delgado area, the northernmost province of Mozambique. Seafloor habitat mapping is an important part of an ecosystem characterisation and a relevant activity under the themes 5, 7 and 11 of the Nansen Science Plan (i.e. theme 5: "oil/gas activities and their impacts on marine ecosystems"; theme 7: "bottom habitat mapping"; theme 11: "ecosystem characterisation: past, present, and future") of the EAF-Nansen Programme's current phase 2017-2021. These themes represented an important element of the Nansen's research survey carried out in the northern waters of Mozambique from 21 March to 4 April 2018. The objective of this sea voyage was to gather data that will contribute to a marine environmental baseline study of bottom fauna and their habitats, and the levels of pollutants in surface sediment related to oil and gas activities in the country's northern waters. During the survey, the expedition team documented marine habitats from 25 to 2000 meters deep, collected bottom samples using a Video Assisted Multi Sampler (VAMS) and conducted video transects with the help of the ROV. Data gathered from the expedition constitute invaluable and the most complete independent dataset ever collected in the Western Indian Ocean region. Thus, they are viewed as highly relevant to national management goals.

The preliminary reports on observed bottom types, fauna and flora were drafted during the course of the expedition. These general outcomes of the habitat mapping will soon be available in a form of a project report. Additional two publications are expected later this year: a scientific paper and a book. The scientific paper aims at depicting the fauna composition in different habitats based on the analysis of the ROV material. In addition to that, the biodiversity patters and new species records will be reported too.

The book (both in English and in Portuguese), addressed to a general audience, is the next product the team is currently working on. The publication will present characteristics of the habitat and ecosystem, starting from the shore, through the deepest part of the channel and climbing up the St. Lazarus seamount on the north of Mozambique.