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OIKON and partners launch National Map of Marine Habitats in Croatia

Credit: IOR

Ibadan, 25 January 2024. – OIKON Ltd, the Croatian Institute of Applied Ecology, together with other partners has launched the National Map of Marine Habitats of the Republic of Croatia. The new, unique map of marine habitats for 51% of Croatia’s marine area provides a detailed insight into the distribution of species and habitats and is a key tool for the conservation and sustainable use of the Adriatic Sea. The map is the result of two years of work and the knowledge of Croatian experts and scientists, marking the beginning of a new era in the protection and preservation of the Adriatic Sea.

This distinctive map is the result of more than 20,000 hours of research, utilizing various methodologies and data collection techniques, including modelling for uncovered areas, validation of collected data, and data analysis and aggregation. Furthermore, the process employed innovative methods like remote surveys (satellite and aerial images), acoustic technologies, underwater photo and video surveys, diving, the use of autonomous divers, and sediment sampling.

The mission also leveraged advanced mathematical modelling and the application of modern methods of spatial data processing and analysis, including the use of neural networks and machine learning algorithms. Furthermore, the new national map, which intricately showcases the diversity and complexity of the marine and coastal habitats of the Adriatic Sea, is now publicly available on the GIS WEB portal of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

Due to its complexity, the map creation project required a multidisciplinary approach. It consequently involved more than 200 experts and scientists from the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, Oikon, the Croatian Geological Institute, the Faculty of Geodesy of the University of Zagreb, and the Ruđer Bošković Institute, in cooperation with the Croatian Hydrographic Institute and the companies Ecotech, Sciom, and Dvokut-Ecro.

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