There is presently an increasing demand for marine habitat maps that improve our knowledge of seascape distributions and support the implementation of European and national legislation such as the Habitats and the Marine Strategy Framework Directives; and the new marine management initiatives, such as Marine Spatial Planning and ecosystem-based management.
Against this background, different classification schemes have been developed with the aim of producing a common understanding and terminology for classifying habitats throughout regional seas.
This Conference, organized by the MeshAtlantic project (Mapping European Seabed Habitat Maps in the Atlantic area; InterReg Atlantic Area Transnational Programme ofthe European Regional Development Fund), will focus upon the experience of different countries and case studies, using the EUNIS (the European Nature Information Service) habitat classification. This scheme has been used in many different ways, such as by direct observation of habitats or by habitat modelling, to produce predictive habitat maps. The strengths and weaknesses of the applicability of the classification will be highlighted, whilst the necessary improvements to make it ecologically-meaningful and of use to managers and decision-makers will be discussed. New biotope classes observed in