National Marine Bioregionalisation of Australia

The National Marine Bioregionalisation provides a picture of the spatial distribution of the broadscale physical and biological components of Australia's marine jurisdiction, including only the offshore island territories of Norfolk, Cocos (Keeling), Christmas and Macquarie Islands. It complements the IMCRA v3.3 management framework by extending regionalisations beyond the continental shelf to cover all of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).The National Marine Bioregionalisation consists of Benthic regionalisation and Pelagic Regionalisation.

Benthic regionalisation

The benthic (sea floor) component of the National Marine Bioregionalisation covers the 80% of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that lies beyond the continental shelf break. It provides a description of patterns of biological distributions and physical habitats on the seafloor. It uses bathymetry, data on demersal fish, sponges and sediments, and oceanographic data to define bioregions. The Benthic Regionalisation consists of a suite of unique bioregions comprising 41 provinces, three depth-related biomes on the continental slope, and geomorphic units which represent clusters of geomorphic features around the EEZ.

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Pelagic regionalisation

The pelagic regionalisation maps and describes regions of Australia's pelagic environment based on physical characteristics of the water column and satellite-based plankton images. It covers the region 100 - 180E and 0- 60S. The regionalisation contains regions at several spatial scales from ocean zones based on large-scale climatic characteristics, to smaller-scale fields of oceanographic features such as eddies and fronts. It is based on the physical properties of the water with the use of satellite imagery to provide information on primary productivity in the ocean. The Pelagic Regionalisation describes 25 different water masses in Australia's oceans within which are identified different circulation regimes and oceanographic features.

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