The classification scheme defines benthic communities on the basis of two attributes: large geographic "zones" which are composed of smaller "habitats". Every polygon on the benthic community map will be assigned a habitat within a zone (e.g. sand in the lagoon, or sand on the bank). Zone indicates polygon location and habitat indicates composition of each benthic community delineated. Combinations of habitat and zone that are analogous to traditionally used terminology are noted where appropriate.
Zones: Zone refers only to the benthic community location and indicates polygon location. Each zone has a description and includes example images. View Zones.
Habitats: Habitat refers only to substrate and/or cover type and indicates composition of each benthic community delineated. Each habitat example includes both underwater and aerial photographs. View Habitats
The zone/habitat approach to the classification scheme was developed by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council; Dr. Ken Lindeman, Environmental Defense; and the NOS Biogeography Branch.