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Marine Ecoregions of the World: A Bioregionalization of Coastal and Shelf Areas

Marine Ecoregions of the World (MEOW) is a biogeographic classification of the world's coasts and shelves. It is the first ever comprehensive marine classification system with clearly defined boundaries and definitions and was developed to closely link to existing regional systems. The ecoregions nest within the broader biogeographic tiers of Realms and Provinces.

MEOW represents broad-scale patterns of species and communities in the ocean, and was designed as a tool for planning conservation across a range of scales and assessing conservation efforts and gaps worldwide. The current system focuses on coast and shelf areas and does not consider realms in pelagic or deep benthic environment. It is hoped that parallel but distinct systems for pelagic and deep benthic biotas will be devised in the near future.

The project was led by WWF and The Nature Conservancy, with broad input from a working group representing key NGO, academic and intergovernmental conservation partners.

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