The lack of seafloor habitat data and maps in the shallow nearshore zone, or “white zone,” is a serious impediment to science and management of this ecologically and economically important environment. A completed map could inform diverse issues included MPA design, identifying essential habitat, estimating land-based impacts and stock assessments. This project will compile the best available substrate and shoreline data and use it to interpolate the characteristics of California’s white zone. Characteristics will include substrate type (rock vs. sediment), relief, depth and rugiosity. The project will also evaluate the accuracy of the maps for use in habitat-species density models. Substrate maps resulting from this project will be available to resource managers and the public on Marine BIOs, and a project video will be shared at the Seymour Discovery Center at UC Santa Cruz.
Filling the “white zone”: New methods for interpolating seafloor attributes in California’s critical unmapped nearshore habitats