Classifying Marine Habitats
Having a classification system for marine habitats provides a
useful tool for managing and conserving marine biodiversity.
In Britain and Ireland we have two compatible classification
schemes, which are summarised below.
Marine Habitat Classification for Britain & Ireland version
The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and
is one of the most comprehensive marine benthic
classification systems currently in use, and has been
developed through the analysis of empirical data sets, the review
of other classifications and scientific literature, and in
collaboration with a wide range of marine scientists and
conservation managers. Click on the Marine Habitat Classification
page in the tree to the left to see biotope descriptions and a full
expandable hierarchy of habitats/biotopes.
EUNIS Classification version 2007-11
The European Nature Information System (EUNIS
classification is a pan-European system, which covers terrestrial
and marine habitats. The marine section is based on, and is
fully compatible with, our national classification; a
correlation table can be downloaded from the EUNIS
page of our website.
Two areas of the classification, the offshore coarse sediments,
particularly the circalittoral coarse and mixed sediments, and the
deep-sea bed are currently being updated. When the classification
was first developed these areas had insufficient data to define
biotopes. Now new data means it is possible for us to begin to
define biotopes for these regions. These changes will be applied to
both the national marine habitat classification and