Research Letters

Potential sites for suitable coelacanth habitat using bathymetric data from the western Indian Ocean

A. Green, R. Uken, P. Ramsay, R. Leuci, S. Perritt
South African Journal of Science | Vol 105, No 3/4 | a68 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajs.v105i3/4.68 | © 2010 A. Green, R. Uken, P. Ramsay, R. Leuci, S. Perritt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 January 2010 | Published: 19 January 2010

About the author(s)

A. Green, Joint Council for Geoscience–University of KwaZulu-Natal, Marine Geoscience Unit, School of Geological Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Westville 3630, South Africa., South Africa
R. Uken, Joint Council for Geoscience–University of KwaZulu-Natal, Marine Geoscience Unit, School of Geological Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Westville 3630, South Africa., South Africa
P. Ramsay, Marine GeoSolutions, 105 Clark Road, Glenwood, Durban 4001, South Africa., South Africa
R. Leuci, Environmental Mapping and Surveying, P.O. Box 201155, Durban North 4016, South Africa., South Africa
S. Perritt, De Beers Group Exploration, Johannesburg, South Africa., South Africa

Abstract

Bathymetry as a discriminatory tool for targeting suitable coelacanth habitats is explored. A regional bathymetry, garnered from pre-existing data sets, and geo-referenced bathymetric charts for the western Indian Ocean is collated and incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS). This allows the suitability of coelacanth habitation, based on criteria concerning depth and shelf morphology from known coelacanth habitats, to be interrogated. A best guess for further detailed exploration is provided, targeting northern Mozambique, between Olumbe and Port Amelia, and the Port St Johns–Port Shepstone stretch of coastline in South Africa. Sparse data prevent the identification of Tanzanian and Madagascan target sites, though these should not be ignored. Ultimately, the GIS is envisioned as a flexible tool within which other spatial data collected in these areas concerning coelacanths may be incorporated.

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