This dataset combines two separately published datasets: the “Marine Ecoregions Of the World” (MEOW; 2007) and the “Pelagic Provinces Of the World” (PPOW; 2012). These datasets were developed by Mark Spalding and colleagues in The Nature Conservancy. Alongside the individual authors, partners for the MEOW layer included WWF, Ramsar, WCS, and UNEP-WCMC. The ecoregions and pelagic provinces are broadly aligned with each other and are non-overlapping.
The MEOW dataset shows a biogeographic classification of the world’s coastal and continental shelf waters, following a nested hierarchy of realms, provinces and ecoregions. It describes 232 ecoregions, which lie within 62 provinces and 12 large realms. The regions aim to capture generic patterns of biodiversity across habitats and taxa, with regions extending from the coast (intertidal zone) to the 200 m depth contour (extended beyond these waters out by a 5 km buffer).
The PPOW dataset shows a biogeographic classification of the surface pelagic (i.e. epipelagic) waters of the world’s oceans. It describes 37 pelagic provinces of the world, nested into four broad realms. A system of seven biomes are also identified ecologically, and these are spatially disjoint but united by common abiotic conditions, thereby creating physiognomically similar communities.
The Nature Conservancy (2012). Marine Ecoregions and Pelagic Provinces of the World. GIS layers developed by The Nature Conservancy with multiple partners, combined from Spalding et al. (2007) and Spalding et al. (2012). Cambridge (UK): The Nature Conservancy. DOIs: 10.1641/B570707; 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.016. Data URL: http://data.unep-wcmc.org/datasets/38
Citations for the separate entities:
Spalding MD, Fox HE, Allen GR, Davidson N, Ferdaña ZA, Finlayson M, Halpern BS, Jorge MA, Lombana A, Lourie SA, Martin KD, McManus E, Molnar J, Recchia CA, Robertson J (2007). Marine Ecoregions of the World: a bioregionalization of coast and shelf areas. BioScience 57: 573-583. doi: 10.1641/B570707. Data URL: http://data.unep-wcmc.org/datasets/38
Spalding MD, Agostini VN, Rice J, Grant SM (2012). Pelagic provinces of the world): a biogeographic classification of the world’s surface pelagic waters. Ocean and Coastal Management 60: 19-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.12.016. Data URL: http://data.unep-wcmc.org/datasets/38
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