Review of classification systems and literature

Before embarking on the development of the MNCR BioMar classification (Connor et al. 1997a, b), a review of existing classification systems was undertaken (Hiscock & Connor 1991). From these, proposals for a classification structure (Connor et al. 1995 a, b) were developed that drew upon the best features of the existing systems, whilst avoiding their weaker aspects. There was subsequent wide consultation on the proposed classification structure, including through two European workshops held during the EC-funded BioMar project (Hiscock ed. 1995; Connor ed. 1997). These workshops helped ensure broad acceptance of the proposed structure and its wide applicability across European seas.
In addition to a review of classification schemes, an extensive review of the literature describing marine habitats was also undertaken. This helped formulate the initial lists of types which might form the basis of the classification. For this the scientific literature was of considerable help for sediment habitats (a traditional area for marine studies) but relatively poor for rocky habitats (which, in the subtidal, attracted attention only relatively recently through use of SCUBA diving techniques). These initial lists of types were then refined on the basis of new dedicated field surveys, data analyses and field trials.