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Douglass, L., Beaver, D., Turner, J., Kaiser, S., Constable, A., Raymond, B., Post, A., Brandt, A., Grantham, H.S. and Nicoll, R. (2014) Southern Ocean Benthic Classification (SOBC) - ecoregions, bathomes and environmental types, Ver. 1, Australian Antarctic Data Centre - doi:10.4225/15/53A3760D4AFAA, Accessed: 2022-12-04
Southern Ocean Benthic Classification (SOBC) - ecoregions, bathomes and environmental types
Data Centre
Australian Antarctic Data Centre, Australia
Created Date
Revision Date
Parent record


This dataset is intended for general use in spatial planning and management to identify areas where benthic marine assemblages are likely to differ from each other in the Southern Ocean. We achieve this by using a hierarchical spatial classification of ecoregions, bathomes and environmental types. Ecoregions are defined according to available data on biogeographic patterns and environmental drivers on dispersal. Bathomes are identified according to depth strata defined by species distributions. Environmental types are uniquely classified according to the geomorphic features found within the bathomes in each ecoregion. This circum-Antarctic map of environmental types can be used to support spatial management aimed at conserving benthic biodiversity across the entire Southern Ocean.

The study area spans the region managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The northern boundary of this region is a line approximating the location of the Polar Front. The southern boundary was defined as the northern edge of the permanent ice shelf of the Antarctic continent.

The shapefile can be used to identify three levels of the hierarchical classification (see Fig. 1 of Douglass et al., 2014):
1) Level 1: Ecoregions
2) Level 2b: Geomorphic features nested in each ecoregion
3) Level 3: Environmental Types
The dataset cannot be used to analyse a level 2a nesting since for some geomorphic features (e.g. seamounts and canyons) the nested bathomes were combined when generating environmental types. If a level 2a nesting is required please contact

The shapefile contains ten fields:
EcoID- Abbreviated Level 1 benthic ecoregion names
Ecoregion- Level 1 benthic ecoregion names
Geomorph2- Geomorphic features
BathID- Bathome identification number which can be used to sort the depth classes
Bathome2 - Bathome
EcoGeo- Level 2b nesting of geomorphic features in each ecoregion
EnvTyp- Level 3 environmental types
GeoClsID- Geomorphic class identification number
GeoCls- Geomorphic classes
Sqkm- Area in square kilometers

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No problems have been identified. Data quality is considered "good".


These data are publicly available from the provided URL.

Temporal Coverages

Spatial Coverages

Science Keywords

Additional Keywords

  • Benthic
  • Classification




  • MAPS


  • Computer


  • turner, joel (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • kaiser, stephanie (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • constable, andrew (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • raymond, ben (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • post, alix (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • brandt, angelika (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • grantham, hedley (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • nicoll, rob (TECHNICAL CONTACT)
  • connell, dave (DIF AUTHOR)

Use Constraints

This data set conforms to the CCBY Attribution License

Please follow instructions listed in the citation reference provided at when using these data.

Please also cite the referenced paper when using these data.

Creative Commons License