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

Lay Summary 

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. 


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.


More information about this project can be found here.


Adapted from

School of Ocean Technology
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Cold Ocean and Arctic, Science, Technology and Society
Marine Atlantic
Climate Change
Mapping & Surveys
Start date 
1 Jan 2020
Lead Organization 
Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI)
Partner Organization 
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dalhousie University
Clearwater Seafoods
Nunavut Fisheries Association
Quality Positioning Services
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 Espirito 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
Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute