EMODnet Seabed Habitats phase 4 - Caribbean


Seabed habitat data is critical for effective marine management and conservation but can be hard to obtain, standardize, and analyse. Given the importance of habitat data to stakeholders around the world, in the last few decades a concentrated efforts had been made to consolidate benthic habitat datasets in a single location with a standardized classification system and open accessibility.

In Europe, this has been largely accomplished thanks to the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), a network of organisations who work together to observe the sea, process the data according to international standards, and make that information freely available as interoperable data layers and data products. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is currently leading the Seabed Habitats section of EMODnet and is working to expand its geographical scope to include EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) in the Caribbean.

Although various organizations have collected benthic habitat data throughout this region, this data has yet to be incorporated into EMODnet. By working with JNCC and the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (of which SAERI is a member), this project aims to collate Caribbean habitat data, upload data to EMODnet, and build capacity across MAERI for GIS and marine data management to work towards the long-term goals of EMODnet for making more marine data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.


Provide Caribbean expertise in the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Seabed Habitats project and assist in acquiring the best available environmental data layers for the target areas of the Caribbean.
Build MAERI’s capacity in the area of marine spatial data management by providing support and training for data management and the establishment of an environmental database to centralise environmental data.

Project Manager


Elayna joined SAERI in April of 2023 and is working to collate and standardize Caribbean seabed habitat maps as part of the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet). She will based in Anguilla for several months and work with stakeholders throughout the Caribbean to develop robust and efficient data collation and submission processes. She completed her undergraduate degree at Davidson College in North Carolina, USA and her MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Her main research interest is spatial analyses of tracking and habitat data as well as behavioural ecology. In the past, she has worked on seabird tracking data and volunteered with marine mammal organizations around the world. Most recently, Elayna completed an internship with the Red Sea Project in Egypt where she worked with various stakeholders, collected coral reef and turtle identification data, and produced maps and educational materials. Given her passion for spatial mapping and applied science, she is excited to work with SAERI to make marine data more accessible as well as for the opportunity to live and work in the Caribbean. She enjoys scuba and free diving and can't wait to explore the marine environment of Anguilla in her free time.


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