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The Nova Scotia Inlet Classification

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A Fuzzy GIS Derived Geophysical and Hydrographic Coastal Inlet Classification to Define Representative Inlet Types and Assess the Existing Provincial and Federal Protected Areas in Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Nearshore.

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Dec 10, 2008
from 03:00 PM to 04:00 PM


George Needler II Boardroom, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, NS

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Seminar by:

Michelle Greenlaw, Geomatics Research Associate, M.Sc. Candidate, Centre for Marine Biodiversity / Acadia University, Biological Station, 531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews NB  E5B 2L9, Email:

Selection of candidate sites for designation as MPAs in coastal waters still involves many arbitrary choices. Analysis of candidate sites, according to a combination of geophysical and ecological criteria, can lead to the recognition of representative coastal areas, and potentially reduce the arbitrary nature of these decisions. In coastal areas, estuaries have long been classified according to their geophysical properties. Bays and coves are at least as diverse in character, yet existing classifications are dependant largely upon description of the benthic communities themselves and take little advantage of existing hydrographic and digital information. We have developed a classification of coastal marine inlets based on GIS analysis of existing digital hydrographic and associated data. Analysis of relationships among physiographic factors, will determine which factors will produce a predictive nearshore classification. Preliminary results show that inlets appear to fall into recognizable categories, or representative types, with intermediates that can be quantified using a fuzzy classification approach. These categories can predict: distribution of fine substrates, backshore type and potentially the array and distributions of biological communities themselves. Morphological factors were derived from publically available government and non-government data. Of special significance, are novel raster calculations of exposure (referenced to wind direction frequencies and durations), which appear to predict the distribution of fine substrates within bays, benthic and inlet shoreline complexity calculations, and the creation of a seamless digital elevation model representing the Nova Scotia nearshore.

Keywords: Marine Protected Areas, Representative Areas, Habitat

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