Dinusha Jayathilake has published a new world map of the seagrass biome. It fills significant gaps in previous maps, and thus doubles the estimated area of seagrass globally to be 1,650,000 km². However, whether seagrass still occurs at all the map locations, or has been lost, for example due to dredging or high turbidity. requires field observations.
The map was built using over 40,000 field observation records from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). These records were modelled with 13 environmental variables and the species distribution modelling software MaxEnt to map the likely spatial extent of the seagrass meadows to a 1 km spatial resolution. The variables best predicting seagrass distribution were sea temperature and distance from land.
The map has been added to the collection of conservation management resources hosted by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre here (http://data.unep-wcmc.org/datasets/46). GIS compatible files can be freelly downloaded for research and management purposes.
Jayathilake D.R.M., Costello M.J. 2018. The predicted global distribution of the seagrass biome. Biological Conservation, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.07.009