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International Conference on Climate Change Global Warming

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Marine and estuarine ecosystem habitat classification

Author(s): Allee R

Abstract

The Ecological Society of America and NOAA's Offices of Habitat Conservation and Protected Resources sponsored a workshop to develop a national marine and estuarine ecosystem classification system. Among the 22 people involved were scientists who had developed various regional classification systems and managers from NOAA and other federal agencies who might ultimately use this system for conservation and management. The objectives were to: (1) review existing global and regional classification systems; (2) develop the framework of a national classification system; and (3) propose a plan to expand the framework into a comprehensive classification system. Although there has been progress in the development of marine classifications in recent years, these have been either regionally focused (e.g., Pacific islands) or restricted to specific habitats (e.g., wetlands; deep seafloor). Participants in the workshop looked for commonalties across existing classification systems and tried to link these using broad scale factors important to ecosystem structure and function.

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