Classification is a means for seafloor habitat data to be collated it into meaningful and consistent categories. In the marine environment, a robust and consistent classification hierarchy is the foundation necessary for mapping outputs to become an essential tool for ocean management.
In the last decade there has been significant investment to collect seabed habitat data around the nation by each State and Territory. Government agencies, often in collaboration with university researchers, hold valuable data products that are of use for a variety of purposes in areas including marine management and resource assessment. However, whilst the level of interest in and need for these datasets has grown significantly over the last 4-5 years, access to them is often difficult. The datasets are scattered throughout numerous agencies and institutions Australia-wide, information is often limited and difficult to find, and the use of multiple datasets can be hindered by disparate data collection and inconsistent classification methods.
Based on the disparate nature of the spatial benthic marine data collated from across the country, the need to develop a nationally consistent benthic marine habitat classification scheme was clear. We provide a report [HERE] that details a review of existing international and national classification schemes, and proposes a nationally extensive benthic habitat classification for Australia. It includes an explanation of the mechanisms for the choice of classes and hierarchical structure.
The Seamap Australia benthic habitat classification scheme is registered on Research Vocabularies Australia (click to read more).
A PDF of the classification scheme (Version 1.0 2017) can be downloaded [HERE].
The report can be cited as: Butler, C., Lucieer, V., Walsh, P., Flukes., E and Johnson, C (2017) Seamap Australia [Version 1.0] the development of a national benthic marine classification scheme for the Australian continental shelf. Final Report to the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) High Values Collection #19. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania. 52 pgs.