Distinguishing marine habitat classification concepts for ecological data management

  • Costello M
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Abstract

Including ecology in biodiversity data management systems requires classifications of habitat terms that provide standard definitions and indicate their relationships. In addition to data- bases, a wide range of intergovernmental, conservation and fishery organizations require classifica- tions of habitats and ecosystems to enable comparisons between areas and organize information in maps and reports. However, all of the terms used to describe habitats are concepts whose definition is context-dependent. This paper reviews the key concepts and ecological perspectives involved in classifying marine ‘habitats’ and ‘biotopes’ (habitat plus its associated species) so as to advise how they may be used in data management systems. Classifications of biotopes provide practical mea- sures of biodiversity at the ecosystem level. As an example the habitat of a benthic invertebrate is very different in spatial scale to that of a parasite, plankton, tuna or whale. Habitats can be geophys- ical and/or biogenic, and may operate at different spatial scales. For example, aggregations of deep- sea coral colonies

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeography
  • Biotope
  • Eco-informatics
  • Methods
  • Ocean
  • Seascape

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