GeoHAB 2008



Mention Alaska, and most people think of snow-capped mountains, brown bears or Baked Alaska dessert….not a gathering of marine scientists partial to a spot of seabed habitat mapping.  But at the end of April, over 100 scientists, researchers and students from a dozen countries met in Sitka, Alaska for an international marine geological and habitat mapping conference known as GeoHAB. 


Crescent harbour, Sitka, Alaska. Sitka hosted the GeoHAB 2008 conference © Neil Golding/JNCC

Since it was established in 2001, GeoHAB has brought together a diverse range of geologists, biologists, ecologists and fisheries scientists around the globe to exchange ideas and discuss technological developments at annual conferences.  “GeoHAB provides a unique mix of geologists and biologists, two disciplines that you don’t normally associate with each other, but having both on your ‘team’ leads to a much deeper understanding of the seabed from mapping studies” said Offshore Data and Survey Manager Neil Golding. 


The theme of this year’s conference was Deep-sea marine benthic habitats and high seas Marine Protected Areas.  Neil presented JNCC’s progress with its offshore survey programme and demonstrated how the survey results help identify the best areas of the seabed to protect from damaging human activities, for example by designating an area as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Neil noted that “2008 has been a busy year so far for us with successful offshore surveys of Dogger Bank in the North Sea, carbonate structures formed from methane gas in the mid Irish Sea and an area of rocky reef known as Solan Bank off Cape Wrath in Scotland.”



Neil Golding

Offshore Data and Survey Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866840