Report 546
Guidance on Assigning Benthic Biotopes using EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland
(2015)
Parry, M.E.V.
This guidance outlines a favoured JNCC approach for assigning a biotope which should ensure biotoped data are suitable for JNCC needs. It can be applied to either EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland.
 

Introduction


Various habitat classification schemes have been developed which provide a list of biotopes defined based on characterising species and associated physical characteristics, such as the substrata it occurs on, the depths at which it can be found, and the type of wave and tidal energy conditions it is associated with. Biotopes provide a simplified description of the variation in biological community across a region to make it easier to visualise patterns and see which areas are similar in character. In the UK there are two commonly used classification schemes; the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland and the Europe-wide scheme EUNIS which is strongly based on the UK system.

Biotopes are positioned at the lowest level (level 5) in the classification hierarchy . The user matches survey data to biotope descriptions. EUNIS covers pelagic and ice associated habitats as well as benthic habitats but these will not be discussed in this document. This guidance is aimed at any user of these classifications but, in particular, those who assign biotopes to survey data gathered for the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (SNCBs). It does not cover the acquisition of habitat data for biotoping, processing of samples or data interpretation; this information can be found in various standard operating procedures. It is likely that this document will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

 

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ISSN 0963-8091
 
Please cite as: Parry, M.E.V., (2015), Guidance on Assigning Benthic Biotopes using EUNIS or the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland, JNCC Report 546, ISSN 0963-8091