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A New Map of Global Ecological Marine Units –
An Environmental Stratification Approach

A New Map of Global Ecological Marine Units

Published by the AAG in 2017, this booklet makes a major contribution to understanding the physical and ecological geography of the Earth.

This special publication describes the concepts and methods for delineating ecological marine units (EMUs) as distinct physical environments.

USGS and Esri created an ecological partitioning of the global ocean. This work is a first-of-its-kind mapping of marine ecosystems that is globally comprehensive, objectively produced, and three-dimensional from sea surface to seafloor. The ocean was subdivided into 37 chemically and physically distinct volumetric regions called ecological marine units (EMUs), a marine ecosystem analog to the terrestrial ELUs.

The EMUs were developed in response to the need for a high resolution, standardized, and data-derived map of global ecosystems for use in analyses of climate change impacts, assessments of economic and non-economic value of ecosystem goods and services, biodiversity conservation planning, and natural resource management.

The work was done in a public/private partnership between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Esri, and was commissioned by the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) as part of an intergovernmental protocol called the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

This special publication is free to download:

Low resolution PDF booklet (6.9MB)

High resolution PDF booklet (42MB) (This version will take some time to download.)