The need for clear and comparable terminology in benthic ecology. Part I. Ecological concepts



  • 1.This note highlights problems with the definition and use of terminology in the field of benthic ecology, and compares the French classification with the UK and EUNIS classifications. These problems stem partly from language-related difficulties, particularly the translation from English to French and vice versa, but also from the incoherence of certain typologies used in EU classifications and Directives.
  • 2.The boundaries used by legislators and developers take neither ecological constraints nor environmental parameters into account. Most often, these boundaries are set using distances or depths that have no basis in the distribution of benthic species.
  • 3.Retaining the definition of ‘étage’ that was proposed by Pérès (1961) is recommended, and the following classification hierarchy is proposed: supralittoral, mediolittoral, infralittoral with an upper littoral fringe, circalittoral with distinct coastal circalittoral and open circalittoral zones, bathyal, abyssal and hadal.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.