Mapping species distribution and identifying important habitats in the coastal zone of the Saint Lawrence Estuary and Gulf


This project is focused on

  1. developing tools that provide DFO with a standardized approach to identifying Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs),
  2. providing scientific support for management to prioritize habitat protection in the coastal zone and
  3. the identification of EBSAs in the coastal zone.

In recent years, the number of projects aimed at protecting coastal infrastructure has increased, due to coastal erosion and sea level rise related to climate change. In accordance with the Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act, and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, DFO evaluates the impact of such projects on coastal habitats. The identification of EBSAs ensures that measures can be proposed to minimize detrimental impacts applicable to the particularities of each site. Tools will consist of three elements:

  1. a geo-referenced database of species abundance and/or occurrence in the coastal zone of the St. Lawrence Estuary and northern and southern Gulf to be created from pre-existing species data,
  2. a geo-referenced database of habitat descriptors for the same area that will be used to classify coastal habitats, and
  3. predictive maps of expected distribution for each species or assemblages which will be produced for the study area.

Program Name

Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA)


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Jean-Sébastien Lauzon-Guay

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