GIS is used around the world to acquire and manage oceanic data as well as analyze and map marine habitats, water quality, species distribution and population, species behavior, pollution, fishing grounds, and other factors that impact marine life. Esri’s ArcGIS software suite is a tool that helps visualize and understand areas in danger of biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, and resource depletion. It also aids in monitoring and examining the effectiveness of conservation practices and protected areas to ensure the preservation of the earth's oceans.
Best Practices: GIS for Ocean Conservation [PDF]
Studying Marine Life
Marine wildlife populations are threatened by global warming, extreme weather, natural and man-made pollution, overharvesting, and additional human disturbances. GIS technology manages and analyzes oceanic data, and its temporal and spatial aspects make it an effective instrument for mapping different marine habitats, water quality, species distribution and population, species behavior, pollution, and fishing grounds to show which species are being threatened and what actions can be taken to restore and maintain their populations.
Monitoring Coastal and Deep Sea Habitats
Visualization of marine habitats is often difficult because of violent weather, poor safety conditions, and accessibility due to water depth. GIS technology allows us to organize and visualize data to create maps of the seafloor even when we cannot see it ourselves.
GIS is a crucial tool for monitoring and examining the effectiveness of conservation practices and protected areas such as coral reefs and the coasts. The ability to overlay various data enables users to visualize habitat degradation and biodiversity loss and to target areas in need of conservation and protection.