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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


GREEN, A. et al. Potential sites for suitable coelacanth habitat using bathymetric data from the western Indian Ocean. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2009, vol.105, n.3-4, pp.151-154. ISSN 1996-7489.

Bathymetry as a discriminatory tool for targeting suitable coelacanth habitats is explored. A regional bathymetry, garnered from pre-existing data sets, and geo-referenced bathymetric charts for the western Indian Ocean is collated and incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS). This allows the suitability of coelacanth habitation, based on criteria concerning depth and shelf morphology from known coelacanth habitats, to be interrogated. A best guess for further detailed exploration is provided, targeting northern Mozambique, between Olumbe and Port Amelia, and the Port St Johns-Port Shepstone stretch of coastline in South Africa. Sparse data prevent the identification of Tanzanian and Madagascan target sites, though these should not be ignored. Ultimately, the GIS is envisioned as a flexible tool within which other spatial data collected in these areas concerning coelacanths may be incorporated.

Keywords : coelacanth; bathymetry; western Indian Ocean; GIS.

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