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Marine Habitat Classification Hierarchy

Expand hierarchy to: Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6
  Marine (Level 1)
  Littoral rock (and other hard substrata)
  High energy littoral rock
  Mussel and/or barnacle communities
  Robust fucoid and/or red seaweed communities
  Fucoids in tide-swept conditions
  Moderate energy littoral rock
  Mussels and fucoids on moderately exposed shores
  Barnacles and fucoids on moderately exposed shores
  Low energy littoral rock
  Fucoids on sheltered marine shores
  Fucoids in variable salinity
  Features of littoral rock
  Lichens or small green algae on supralittoral and littoral fringe rock
  Rockpools
  Littoral caves and overhangs
  Ephemeral green or red seaweed communities (freshwater or sand-influenced)
  Littoral sediment
  Littoral coarse sediment
  Shingle (pebble) and gravel shores
  Littoral sand
  Strandline
  Barren or amphipod-dominated mobile sand shores
  Polychaete/amphipod-dominated fine sand shores
  Polychaete/bivalve-dominated muddy sand shores
  Littoral mud
  Polychaete/bivalve-dominated mid estuarine mud shores
  Polychaete/oligochaete-dominated upper estuarine mud shores
  Littoral mixed sediment
  Hediste-dominated gravelly sandy mud shores
  Species-rich mixed sediment shores
  Littoral macrophyte-dominated sediment
  Saltmarsh
  Littoral seagrass beds
  Littoral biogenic reefs
  Littoral Sabellaria honeycomb worm reefs
  Littoral mussel beds on sediment
  Infralittoral rock (and other hard substrata)
  High energy infralittoral rock
  Kelp with cushion fauna and/or foliose red seaweeds
  Sediment-affected or disturbed kelp and seaweed communities
  Moderate energy infralittoral rock
  Kelp and red seaweeds (moderate energy infralittoral rock)
  Kelp and seaweed communities in tide-swept sheltered conditions
  Low energy infralittoral rock
  Silted kelp communities (sheltered infralittoral rock)
  Kelp in variable or reduced salinity
  Faunal communities on variable or reduced salinity infralittoral rock
  Submerged fucoids, green or red seaweeds (low salinity infralittoral rock)
  Features of infralittoral rock
  Infralittoral surge gullies and caves
  Infralittoral fouling seaweed communities
  Circalittoral rock (and other hard substrata)
  High energy circalittoral rock
  Very tide-swept faunal communities
  Deep sponge communities (circalittoral)
  Mixed faunal turf communities
  Moderate energy circalittoral rock
  Echinoderms and crustose communities
  Circalittoral Sabellaria reefs (on rock)
  Soft rock communities
  Circalittoral mussel beds on rock
  Circalittoral faunal communities in variable salinity
  Low energy circalittoral rock
  Brachiopod and ascidian communities
  Features of circalittoral rock
  Circalittoral caves and overhangs
  Circalittoral fouling faunal communities
  Sublittoral sediment
  Sublittoral coarse sediment (unstable cobbles and pebbles, gravels and coarse sands)
  Sublittoral coarse sediment in variable salinity (estuaries)
  Infralittoral coarse sediment
  Circalittoral coarse sediment
  Offshore circalittoral coarse sediment
  Sublittoral sands and muddy sands
  Sublittoral sand in low or reduced salinity (lagoons)
  Sublittoral sand in variable salinity (estuaries)
  Infralittoral fine sand
  Infralittoral muddy sand
  Circalittoral fine sand
  Circalittoral muddy sand
  Offshore circalittoral sand
  Sublittoral cohesive mud and sandy mud communities
  Sublittoral mud in low or reduced salinity (lagoons)
  Sublittoral mud in variable salinity (estuaries)
  Infralittoral sandy mud
  Infralittoral fine mud
  Circalittoral sandy mud
  Circalittoral fine mud
  Offshore circalittoral mud
  Sublittoral mixed sediment
  Sublittoral mixed sediment in low or reduced salinity (lagoons)
  Sublittoral mixed sediment in variable salinity (estuaries)
  Infralittoral mixed sediment
  Circalittoral mixed sediment
  Offshore circalittoral mixed sediment
  Sublittoral macrophyte-dominated communities on sediments
  Maerl beds
  Kelp and seaweed communities on sublittoral sediment
  Sublittoral seagrass beds
  Angiosperm communities in reduced salinity
  Sublittoral biogenic reefs on sediment
  Polychaete worm reefs (on sublittoral sediment)
  Sublittoral mussel beds (on sublittoral sediment)
  Coral reefs
  Atlantic upper bathyal
  Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Barnacle dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Brachiopod dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Deep sponge aggregation on Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Sparse encrusting community on Atlantic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Sparse encrusting community on Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Surface dwelling ophiuroid community on Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal sand
  Atlantic upper bathyal mud
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic upper bathyal mud
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic upper bathyal mud
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic upper bathyal mud
  Sea pens and burrowing megafauna on Atlantic upper bathyal mud
  Atlantic upper bathyal mixed sediment
  Atlantic upper bathyal biogenic structure
  Atlantic upper bathyal cold water coral reef (biogenic structure)
  Atlantic mid bathyal
  Atlantic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Barnacle dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Brachiopod dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Sparse encrusting community on Atlantic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Sparse encrusting community on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Burrowing anemone field in Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Surface dwelling ophiuroid community on Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Burrowing anemone field in Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Deep sponge aggregation on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Erect coral field on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Sea pens and burrowing megafauna on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal mud
  Atlantic mid bathyal mixed sediment
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic mid bathyal mixed sediment
  Atlantic mid bathyal biogenic structure
  Atlantic mid bathyal cold water coral reef (biogenic structure)
  Atlantic lower bathyal
  Atlantic lower bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic lower bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic lower bathyal coarse sediment
  Mixed cold water coral community on Atlantic lower bathyal coarse sediment
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic lower bathyal coarse sediment
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic lower bathyal coarse sediment
  Atlantic lower bathyal sand
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic lower bathyal sand
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Atlantic mid bathyal sand
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic lower bathyal sand
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic lower bathyal sand
  Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Burrowing ophiuroid community on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Deep sponge aggregation on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Erect coral field on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Solitary scleractinian field on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic lower bathyal mud
  Atlantic lower bathyal mixed sediment
  Surface dwelling ophiuroid community on Atlantic lower bathyal mixed sediment
  Xenophyophore dominated community on Atlantic lower bathyal mixed sediment
  Atlantic lower bathyal biogenic structure
  Atlantic lower bathyal cold water coral reef (biogenic structure)
  Atlantic upper abyssal
  Atlantic upper abyssal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic upper abyssal coarse sediment
  Atlantic upper abyssal sand
  Atlantic upper abyssal mud
  Holothurian dominated community on Atlantic upper abyssal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Atlantic upper abyssal mud
  Urchin dominated community on Atlantic upper abyssal mud
  Atlantic upper abyssal mixed sediment
  Atlantic upper abyssal biogenic structure
  Atlantic mid abyssal
  Atlantic mid abyssal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic mid abyssal coarse sediment
  Atlantic mid abyssal sand
  Atlantic mid abyssal mud
  Crinoid dominated community on Atlantic mid abyssal mud
  Holothurian dominated community on Atlantic mid abyssal mud
  Atlantic mid abyssal mixed sediment
  Atlantic mid abyssal biogenic structure
  Atlantic lower abyssal
  Atlantic lower abyssal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlantic lower abyssal coarse sediment
  Atlantic lower abyssal sand
  Atlantic lower abyssal mud
  Atlantic lower abyssal mixed sediment
  Atlantic lower abyssal biogenic structure
  Arctic mid bathyal
  Arctic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Crinoid dominated community on Arctic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Mixed cold water coral community on Arctic mid bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Arctic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Burrowing anemone field in Arctic mid bathyal coarse sediment
  Arctic mid bathyal sand
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Arctic mid bathyal sand
  Arctic mid bathyal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Arctic mid bathyal mud
  Arctic mid bathyal mixed sediment
  Arctic mid bathyal biogenic structure
  Arctic lower bathyal
  Arctic lower bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Arctic lower bathyal coarse sediment
  Arctic lower bathyal sand
  Arctic lower bathyal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Arctic lower bathyal mud
  Arctic lower bathyal mixed sediment
  Arctic lower bathyal biogenic structure
  Arctic upper abyssal
  Arctic upper abyssal rock and other hard substrata
  Arctic upper abyssal coarse sediment
  Arctic upper abyssal sand
  Arctic upper abyssal mud
  Mixed infauna dominated by polychaetes in Arctic upper abyssal mud
  Arctic upper abyssal mixed sediment
  Arctic upper abyssal biogenic structure
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal rock and other hard substrata
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Deep sponge aggregation on Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal mixed sediment
  Sparse encrusting community on Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal coarse sediment
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal sand
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal mud
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal mixed sediment
  Deep sponge aggregation on Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal mixed sediment
  Atlanto-Arctic upper bathyal biogenic structure

Click on +/- to expand and contract the hierarchy.  Click on a name to view habitat details.



Version 15.03 of the classification adds a deep-sea section to version 04.05; therefore superseding version 04.05, 97.06 and 03.02.

This online classification should be cited as:

JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed]. Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification

Information from the shallower section (up to sublittoral sediment, taken from Version 04.05) be cited as the report accompanying Version 04.05, as follows:

CONNOR, D.W., J.H. ALLEN, N.GOLDING, K.L.HOWELL, L.M. LIEBERKNECHT, K.O. NORTHEN AND J.B. REKER (2004) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 04.05. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISBN 1 861 07561 8


Information from the deep-sea section (added in March 2015) should be cited as the report accompanying the deep-sea section, as follows:

PARRY, M.E.V., K.L. HOWELL, B.E. NARAYANASWAMY, B.J. BETT, D.O.B. JONES, D.J. HUGHES, N. PIECHAUD, T.D. NICKELL, H. ELLWOOD, N. ASKEW, C. JENKINS and E. MANCA (2015) A Deep-sea Section for the Marine Habitat Classification of Britain and Ireland. JNCC report 530. In: JNCC (2015) The Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland Version 15.03 [Online]. [Date accessed].
Available from: jncc.defra.gov.uk/MarineHabitatClassification
ISSN 0963 8901