About the Marine Habitat Mapping Technology Workshop for Alaska


This workshop will address the topic of marine habitat mapping technologies, emphasizing (a) available tools and techniques, including potential applications and costs; (b) methodologies for classifying seafloor habitats; (c) a synthesis approach, to aid those who are not experts in the field; (d) a focus on needs specifically in the three large marine ecosystems around Alaska—Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, and Arctic; and (e) a workshop format that includes and educates a wide range of interested groups such as local community leaders, commercial fishing organizations, and nongovernmental organizations. The workshop format is intended to serve both the wider community that has a stake in the management of marine resources, and the managers/researchers who need specific technical knowledge about marine habitat mapping.

What is habitat mapping?

Benthic habitat mapping identifies and characterizes regions of the seafloor that are potential habitat for species that depend on the benthic environment. These maps can be used to identify the distribution and specific location of various habitat types, contributing to rational management of ocean resources.

A major challenge lies in reconciling (1) the need to define and characterize marine habitats over the large areas covered by ecosystems or species populations; that is, large enough to be useful for management or predictive modeling purposes; with (2) the capabilities and cost of the technologies available to accomplish this at adequate resolution. To address the need for habitat maps that cover significant areas of the seafloor in an efficient way, the general approach developed by the scientific community is to combine acoustic mapping of the seafloor with groundtruth and biological surveys by visual observations and sampling. Based on this combination of data, the mapped area is divided, or classified, into different types of habitats.



Examples of topics to be addressed at the workshop include the following:



During the first two days of the workshop, presentations by approximately 15 invited speakers will serve as a short-course on marine habitat mappingfor the general audience and will provide a technical overview of current capabilities for managers and researchers. Attendees are invited to present a poster at the formal poster session, planned for the evening of the first day and three hours in the middle of the second day. Posters will be displayed throughout these two days, and a volume of brief poster abstracts will be distributed with the meeting program. It is anticipated that many participants will choose to attend the first two days only.

Working groups

The morning of Wednesday, April 4, will be a half-day technical discussion and writing session. The invited speakers and other interested attendees will be divided into three or more working groups for discussion and writing assignments on specific topics. The objectives of these groups are to (1) summarize the capabilities of habitat mapping technologies, along with operational considerations; and (2) make recommendations on how to select appropriate tools and mapping approaches for different marine settings and program needs.

At the end of the morning, workshop attendees will reconvene for reports from each working group. The written summaries produced by the working groups will form the basis for an Executive Summary of the workshop, to be distributed via the Alaska Sea Grant Web site in May 2007.


A peer-reviewed synthesis volume based on the presentations by the invited speakers will be published approximately one year after the workshop. This volume is intended to be a reference for planning marine habitat mapping activities in Alaska and the Northeast Pacific.

Poster session

The formal poster session, on the evening of April 2, will be an open forum for exchange of information and viewpoints. Posters may address any topic related to habitat mapping and its use for marine resources management. For example, posters might present habitat mapping projects; present viewpoints of commercial fishing organizations with respect to habitat mapping; communicate the needs and goals of a coastal community; or display capabilities of marine technology operators. Refreshments will be provided. This will be an opportunity for attendees to interact, discuss their needs and goals for habitat mapping, and explore potential partnerships for the future. A printed volume of poster abstracts will be distributed at the workshop.


The conference will be held at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel. The Sheraton offers comfortable guest rooms with modern amenities, including high-speed Internet access (fee). The health club includes exercise equipment, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, and massage. On-site restaurants include fine dining and a bar and grill.

Guest room accommodations are available to conference participants at a special rate of $95.00 per night, single or double occupancy. Add 12% tax to all room prices. To receive the conference rate, call by March 21 and say that your reservation is for the mapping workshop.

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel
401 East 6th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501

To make reservations:

Registration information

The registration fee is $150.00 US if paid and received on or before March 23, 2007; after this date, on-site registration will be $175.00. The fee covers light continental breakfast and break refreshments daily; a catered reception and poster session on Monday, April 2; symposium materials; the Executive Summary report (electronic distribution); a peer-reviewed synthesis volume on CD, postage paid (summer 2008). You are urged to register and pay your fees in advance so that adequate materials are available.

Make checks payable to Alaska Sea Grant College Program (money order or U.S. funds check from U.S. bank). Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. If it becomes necessary to cancel your registration, fees will be refunded at 75% if notice is received by March 26, 2007.

Registration closed on March 23; please register onsite in Anchorage. If you have any questions or need further information, please see the contact information at the bottom of this page.


NPRB logo
North Pacific Research Board

Steering committee

Workshop contact information

Sherri Pristash, Workshop Coordinator
Alaska Sea Grant College Program
907-474-6701 voice • 907-474-6285 fax