Habitat classification: Marine environments
The idea behind this symposium stems from a general paper by Elton and Miller on the ecological survey of animal communities in which a practical scheme for classifying habitats by structural characters is discussed. In this paper outline classifications are given for terrestrial and fresh-water habitats and it is inferred that a classification of marine habitats based upon the same principles could easily be built up. It is my task in this symposium to attempt to stimulate discussion upon the possibilities of evolving a scheme of classification for marine habitats that will be acceptable to all ecologists.
The difficulties arise from the qualification-"acceptable to all ecologists."
We all know the difficulties involved in drawing up any ecological scheme that involves definition, and of course a habitat classification b. one long definition. Part of the difficulty arises because working ecologists often mix two aspects of the study. We all try to be descriptive and interpretative at the same time. Interpretations of data are as varied as are the workers in the field and it is because descriptive schemes do not fit the varied interpretations that much of the criticism is levelled at them.