Habitat Classification

Habitat Classification

The habitat classification system of  the SeaMap Tasmania project is defined within a hierarchical scheme that uses the framework outlined in Allee et al. (2000). This system aims to 'describe the spatial heterogeneity of marine and estuarine landscapes and is logically linked to underlying mechanisms structuring the ecosystem and biotic communities'. It is based on physical characterisitics that is accompanied by biotic variables in the description. The level of the heirarchy attributed is representative of the method and scale of the habitat mapping.

Click here to open SeaMap Tasmania's Habitat Classification Table.

In the SeaMap Tasmania project acoustically defined habitats feature in the top three levels of the hierarchy. The forth level describes the modifiers of these habitats which are influenced by depth and exposure.
The four hierarchical levels are defined as:

  • Geomorphic Types or Topography
  • Bio-geomorphic Type
  • Substratum and Eco-type
  • Modifiers

The physical and biological factors defined within the 'modifiers level'are not exhaustive, but represent those used so far in the SeaMap Tasmania project. More modifiers may be added, relevant to the objective and/or scale of the mapping project, the specific enviroment being mapped or as further data becomes available from new techniques or sensors.

All habitat classifications within the heirarchical structure are defined using a set of decision rules that are applied either during post processing the acoustic data (eg profile of reef) or through further analysis of the area (eg.exposure). Details on mapping decision rules can be obtained in the methodology section of the associated reports.