Quick-and-dirty coastal habitat characterization, part 1: Rocky shores

The Darwin Core metadata standard has an “Event” class (an action with defined spatiotemporal dimensions) with the element “habitat,” which is reserved for a “category or description of the habitat in which the Event occurred.” For standards-compliance I need to identify a fixed set of characteristics relevant to habitats of the Northwest Atlantic coast. This provides a starting point for any desired modifiers, etc.

For Rocky Shores:

1) Coast Type (Knox, 2001Bertness, 2007)

  • open coast
  • protected outer coast
  • protected bay/inlet/estuary

2) Elevation (Mann, 2000; Knox, 2001)

  • terrestrial (maritime)
  • upper shore (supralittoral, or littoral fringe)
  • mid-shore (eulittoral)
  • lower shore (sublittoral)
  • subtidal (sublittoral)

3) Substrate/Community (Raffaelli, 1996; Knox, 2001; Bertness, 2007)

  • cliff-bedrock
  • boulder-cobble
  • shingle-gravel
  • tidepool

4) Wave stress (Raffaelli, 1996; Bertness, 2007)

  • wave exposed
  • moderately wave exposed
  • wave sheltered

5) Tidal stress (Raffaelli, 1996; Bertness, 2007)

  • high tidal flow
  • moderate tidal flow
  • low tidal flow

First in a series of posts. Still to come: soft-sediment shores, salt marshes, and man-made structures.

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