Quantitative image analysis or remote sensing data allows the quantitative classification of marine ecosystems that captures temporal and dynamics at meso-scale resolution (10s or 100s of km).
Edward Gregr and Karin Bodtker combine variables describing the physical ocean environment to describe biologically meaningful regions, which the authors claim is the first such attempt (traditionally, the biology of interest is included in the analysis) and represents a first step towards a quantitative description of ecosystem boundaries in the marine environment that apply across a range of biota rather than a single species or taxonomic group.
The analysis performed specifically for the North Pacific demonstrates that regions with different biological properties can be delineated using only physical variables. It also captures temporal dynamics at meso-scale (10s or 100s of km) resolutions and can facilitate the move to ecosystem-based management of marine fisheries and endangered species.
Edward J. Gregr, Karin M. Bodtker 2007. Adaptive classification of marine ecosystems: Identifying biologically meaningful regions in the marine environment, Deep-Sea Research I 54, 385–402