This is a picture-based guide designed to promote national consistency and standards for classifying marine biota and substrata captured in underwater imagery. National consistency is an important requirement for effective monitoring of benthic ecosystems in Commonwealth Marine Reserves and key ecological features (implementing Marine Bioregional Plans).

This document provides definitions and examples for the categories described in Version 1.2 of the CATAMI Classification Scheme for marine biota and substrata in underwater imagery (CATAMI Technical Working Group, 2013). It is envisaged that imagery from a range of sources, including video and digital stills and hence spanning a range in resolution and quality, will be scored using this system.

The classification scheme was designed to allow images from shallow waters to abyssal depths and from the tropics to Antarctic/ Arctic waters to be classified using the same labels, i.e. a set of consistent identifiers. For ease of tracking and data-basing, each standardised label was also assigned a CAAB ‘code’. CAAB stands for Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota and is a numerical code that is listed, described and maintained through a CSIRO website at (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). Originally CAAB were only used for taxonomic classification of biota, but the system was adapted to encompass both the physical and the biota classes of the CATAMI classification.

The publication is by CATAMI but has been facilitated through funds from CATAMI (ANDS & NECTAR), NERP and researchers  ‘in kind’ by their institutions.

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