Classifying the Marine Environment into Ecological Units and its application in the Irish Sea Pilot
Vincent, M.

 

Introduction

 
A key element of the 'Implementation Framework' is the concept of tailoring the nature of human use of the marine environment to the particular character of its large-scale ecological components.
 
This concept was, in part, inspired by work undertaken in Canada (Roff and Taylor, 2000) which uses geophysical information as a proxy for biological information in order to develop a classification for marine environments. This approach is potentially well suited for areas away from the coastline where biological information is likely to be lacking, and/or where the regulation of human activity needs to be addressed at the relatively large scale.
 
Roff and Taylor considered that the concept could be applied to the water column (using parameters such as water temperature, depth/light, and stratification/mixing regime), and also to the seabed (using parameters such as water temperature, depth/light, substrate type, exposure/slope). They termed the marine components identified by this classification as marine habitat types or 'seascapes'.
 
When the 'Implementation Framework' was discussed by the RMNC, objection was raised to the adoption of the 'seascape' term because it had been used in other contexts. The term used for the purposes of the Irish Sea Pilot is seabed types or 'Ecological Units', but the concept is the same. A draft list of ecological units and a map of their distribution in the Irish Sea is included in this paper.

 
 
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For further information please contact:
Marine Habitats, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Monkstone House, City Road, Peterborough, PE1 1JY

 

 
Please cite as: Vincent, M., Classifying the Marine Environment into Ecological Units and its application in the Irish Sea Pilot