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MIT 12 000 - Using a Geographic Information System

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1 Using a Geographic Information System (GIS) to look at marine fisheries data Daniel Sheehan GIS Programmer & Analyst Office of Educational Innovation & Technology [email protected] x2-1475 Introduction GIS is a tool that is becoming well used in many aspects of science and management where space, or location, plays an important role. Location plays a vital role in marine fisheries management, as the environment, including bathymetry, or depth, and bottom type determines which fish may be present and how difficult it is to capture those fish. In this exercise, you will look at the abundance of a single species of fish, Atlantic Cod. Atlantic Cod is considered a ground fish, many of which have been over fished in the last 40 or more years. In response to this, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has closed several important parts of the northeast traditional fishing grounds. The purpose of this exercise is to determine if you can see the effects of this closure through survey data collected by NMFS over the last 44 years. You will do this by evaluating the average size of Atlantic Cod over the last 44 years. You will also look at the average scallop size over a shorter period.2 Processing and view data in a GIS Start out by opening the application. You should see this window: The map has several data layers already added, including the catch from the NMFS survey cruises for both Atlantic Cod and Sea Scallop. Also added are the current closed areas, the boundaries of the United States and other countries’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and the topography of the land areas (dem land – a DEM is a digital elevation model) and the bathymetry. Both the DEM and the Bathymetry are in meters. You can see the legend for the topography and bathymetry by clicking on the small plus sign to the left of the checkbox by the name in the table of contents (the area to the left of the map). The checkbox is used to make the layer visible or invisible. Try these controls out. Next, you will look use the bathymetry to determine the 100 meter depth contour. This contour generally outlines both Georges Bank and the Grand Banks, both of which were historically significant fishing grounds. To do this, you will use the Spatial Analyst toolbar, which looks like this:3 Click on the dropdown list (arrow to the right of ‘Spatial Analyst’) and select Surface Analysis then Contour. You should see a form like this: Fill out the form as you see here, except the Output. Put those in the drive the instructor tells you during the class. The contour interval of 10000 ensures that only a single contour line will be drawn, the base contour, which will be the 100 meter depth contour. Once you click OK and the processing is complete, check the map for the contour and look for Georges Bank and Grand Banks. Notice where the EEZ for Canada and the United States are in relation to both of these banks. Next, zoom in to the northeast region (as defined by the National Marine Fisheries Service), from North Carolina to Nova Scotia. The zoom tool, changes the functionality of the cursor so that you can click on the lower left corner of where you want to look, keep the mouse cursor down, the draw the cursor to the upper right corner and release the button. The zoom cursor is the left most of the tools below:4 Now make the closed areas visible to see where they are then make the all_codfish layer visible. The layer should show simply points where all of the cod where caught. Let’s make this a little more useful by adding symbols. To get to the form, right click on the name ‘all_codfish’ in the table of contents and then click on Properties. Click on the Symbolize tab. You should see this form: In the left window, change what you are showing from Single Symbol to Graduated Symbols under the Quantities heading. Change the Value to CATCHWT, which is the weight of all Cod caught a given station. Change the Normalization to CATCHNUM, which is the number of Cod caught at a given station. This gives you the average weight for all Cod caught at a given station. Click OK confirm this change. Once you do this, right click on the ClosedArea1 label in the table of contents and then click on Zoom to Layer. This will show you a map that looks like this:5 This map is centered on Georges Bank. You can see the productive northern edge of the bank, where the water drops off to the deeper Gulf of Maine, and relatively large Cod have been caught over the years of the survey. Once you have this map, you will want to divide the data into years. Besides the CATCHWT and CATCHNUM fields, there is also a YEAR field, among several others. You will want to use the year field to separate the oldest and newest data from this dataset, which extends from 1963 to 2006 and is the longest time series of fish survey data in the world. To separate the data, click on the Selection menu and then click on Select by Attributes. This form should appear:6 Fill in the form as you see here but double click on the field names and values (you will need to click on unique values to see the values) and single click on the ‘AND’ to add these to your select statement. This has the effect of selecting all of the stations in the all_codfish layers where the years match what you have selected. Once you have this, you can export this part of the data to a new layer, which you can symbolize separately from whole dataset. To export the data to a new layer, right click on the all_codfish layer in the table of contents, click on Data then click on Export. You should see this form:7 Be sure to save this to the same folder that you saved the contour data to and not the folder shown in the image here. You will be asked if you want to add the new shapefile to the map – please do so. You will need to change the symbolization for this new layer using the same directions as you did for the complete dataset. You will also want to look at scallops, but only for those in the closed area (closedarea2). To do this, you need to do a spatial join. This operation selects points from a points layer that exist within a polygon layer. The operation creates a second layer. Attributes if the polygon layer are added to the new point layer. You need to open the Toolbox (instructor will help you find the red toolbox. You should see


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