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Biomes of the Australian EEZ

Note: This metadata describes the dataset in accordance with the ANZLIC (Australia New Zealand Land Information Council) Core Metadata Guidelines Version 2.

Dataset citation

ANZLIC unique identifier: ANZCW0703007504

Title: Biomes of the Australian EEZ


Custodian: Geoscience Australia

Jurisdiction: Australia



The data set provides outlines for the maximum extent of the benthic Biomes of Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone for regions beyond the shelf break not including the offshore island territories and Australian Antarctic Territory. These data were compiled in 2004 as part of the draft national benthic marine bioregionalisation which is designed to provide improved knowledge of Australia's seabed. The Biomes represent bio-geographic regions that capture narrow spatial distributions and depth ranges in benthic faunal distributions, based on the assumption that the demersal fish distributions are a surrogate of marine faunal distributions. The narrow spatial distributions were revealed as strong patterns of bathymetric zoning for key indicator species on the upper to mid slope. Due to available data, biomes were only defined in water depths of <1,130 m. A total of three biomes were defined: upper slope, mid-upper slope, and mid slope. Each of the biomes is separated by a biotone. The Biomes data set includes the names of units in the attribute table as well as the area and perimeter of each unit.

ANZLIC search words:

  • GEOSCIENCES Geomorphology Mapping
  • MARINE Biodiversity
  • MARINE Mapping

Spatial domain:

locality map

Geographic extent name: AUSTRALIA EXCLUDING EXTERNAL TERRITORIES - AUS - Australia - Australia

Geographic extent polygon: 90 -9, 175 -9, 175 -55, 90 -55, 90 -9,

Note: The format for each Geographic extent name is: Name - Identifier - Category - Jurisdiction (as appropriate) See GEN Register

Geographic bounding box:
North bounding latitude: -9 °
South bounding latitude: -55 °
East bounding longitude: 175 °
West bounding longitude: 90 °

Data currency

Beginning date: 2002-07-01

Ending date: Not Known

Dataset status

Progress: In Progress

Maintenance and update frequency: Not Known


Stored data format:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic WGS84
Available format type:
DIGITAL - shp ArcView shape file ArcView Geographic WGS84

Access constraints:

No restrictions

Free Data Download

Data quality


The Biomes were defined in 2004 as part of a program run by Geoscience Australia, CSIRO Marine Research and the National Oceans Office to create a spatial inventory of large-scale benthic biogeographical regions for Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. The Biomes were defined by the strong depth structuring on the mid to upper slope in key indicator demersal fishes. The depth structuring on the slope was determined from an analysis of the regional structure in demersal fishes carried out by CSRIO Marine Research (Last et al., 2004). The final boundaries were generated by intersecting the biome depths with the 250 m spatial resolution bathymetry model for the Australian EEZ using an ARC GIS. This produced the two dimensional biome polygons. The resulting boundaries defined the separate polygons and they were stored as an ARC/GIS shape file.

Positional accuracy:

Positional accuracy of the biome boundaries varies depending on the source demersal data. Some data were generated from fishing surveys using GPS and DGPS. These have the highest positional accuracy (up to +/- 2 m). The accuracy of the boundaries is must less for those using data generated from surveys using dead reckoning, radar, etc. Where the boundaries have been superimposed on the bathymetry the positional accuracy is also determined by the quality of the bathymetric data, and the approximate accuracy of the boundaries is probably +/-10 km. Some information about the positional accuracy of the demersal fish data is provided in Last et al., 2004.

Attribute accuracy:

No attribute for data quality for the Biomes exist at this stage. Attributes for the underlying 250 m spatial resolution bathymetry model will be updated once a reliability map for the source data has been generated.

Logical Consistency:

The data sets were compiled as a single national coverage. Tests were carried out on the data for completeness, correct spatial representation, attribute accuracy, and logical consistency and correctness.


Coverage: The Biomes are located in the Exclusive Economic Zone from the shelf break to 1,130 m water depth. Due to data availability no biomes have been defined for the offshore island territories or Australian Antarctic Territory. The deep water demersal fish analysis on which the biomes are based was carried out from data collated from 240 CSIRO research surveys supplemented with data from external fisheries agencies in Australia across the EEZ. The data consisted of specimen and point data and catch composition data which revealed the distributional patterns of Australia?s deep-water demersal fish fauna for 1,489 species from 494 genera (representing 121 families). The data include details of the spatial distributions (i.e., latitudes and longitudes) and depth distributions for each species, where known. Locations and species data that were used to construct the Biomes are contained in Last et al., 2004.

Classification: The Biomes defined by this dataset are well-established faunal classifications and represent bio-geographic regions that capture narrow spatial distributions and depth ranges in benthic faunal distributions.

Verification: Field verification was limited to reviewing published literature within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone.

Contact information

Contact organisation: Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) (GA)
Contact position: Manager Client Services
Mail address: Cnr Jerrabomberra Ave and Hindmarsh Dr
Mail address: GPO Box 378
Locality: Canberra
State: ACT
Country: Australia
Postcode: 2601
Telephone: 02 6249 9966
Facsimile: 02 6249 9960
Electronic mail address:

Metadata information

Metadata date: 2013-03-08

Additional metadata

Metadata reference XHTML:

Metadata reference XML:


Last, P., Lyne, V., Yearsley, G., Gledhill, D., Gomon, M., Rees, T. and White, W., 2004. Validation of National Demersal Fish Datasets for the Regionalisation of the Australian Continental Slope and Outer Shelf. Draft CSIRO Report to the National Oceans Office, Sept, 2004. CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Authors:Woods, M. Hinde, A. Harris, P. Heap, A.D.