The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), through its Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Program, collects data and develops maps showing the distribution and diversity of seafloor habitats. Among other applications, this information is used by resource managers and project proponents to help avoid or minimize impacts when siting projects in Massachusetts ocean waters. Major components of CZM’s Seafloor and Habitat Mapping Program include:

  • Sediment Mapping - Sediment mapping is the process of determining the character of the surface of the seafloor and includes mapping the relative quantities of mud, sand, gravel, cobble, and boulder. CZM’s sediment mapping activities include working with other agencies to gather seafloor sediment data in the field, creating a database of seafloor sediment information from primary and secondary sources, identifying a classification scheme to describe sediment types in Massachusetts waters, and creating digitized maps of seafloor sediment types.
  • Geoform Mapping - Through geoform mapping, large-scale forms on the seafloor—such as ridges, valleys, and flat plains—are mapped. The location and extent of geoforms are derived from bathymetry (water depth) data.
  • Biological Mapping - Biological mapping identifies specific locations where various organisms or natural groupings of organisms have been found, either through grab samples or photography.
  • Water Column Mapping - Water column mapping is the process of modeling and mapping physical water column parameters, such as temperature, current velocity, and salinity.

Additional information on seafloor mapping is available in: