Belgian National Gravel Bed Monitoring

In the framework of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MARECO is responsible for the design and implementation of the national monitoring program on seafloor integrity and biodiversity in natural gravel bed biotopes, classified as a geogenic reef under the EU Habitats Directive. This multidisciplinary monitoring program exploits underwater remote sensing to demarcate the distribution of these environments, providing the spatially explicit baseline for detailed follow-up monitoring. Concurrently, physical and underwater videographic samples are collected annually at selected locations to carry out the biological evaluations of the mapped areas and to assess the environmental status of the gravel bed biotopes.