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Short Citation:
NMFS Office of Science and Technology, 2022: Ecosystem production units Defined for the northeast US shelf,

Item Identification

Title: Ecosystem production units Defined for the northeast US shelf
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2022-03-07

The delineation of spatial ecological and management units is an important aspect of effective ecosystem-based fisheries management. Research at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) was conducted to define ecological units, or geographic areas which are characterized by similar patterns in depth, bottom type, basic oceanographic conditions related to temperature, salinity, and stratification (layering) of the water column, major marine community and food web patterns control the production potential of a region, . This work provides an objective definition of ecological regions of the shelf system, and are the geographic/ecological scales best suited for development of integrated ecosystem assessments.


This layer is of the four main ecological production units defined by the NEFSC using physiological, oceanographic, and lower trophic level data, and used in the State of the Ecosystem - Gulf of Maine & Georges Bank (2018+), State of the Ecosystem - Mid-Atlantic (2018+), and related projects.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None biogeographic
None ecosystem

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Georges Bank
None Gulf of Maine
None Mid-Atlantic Bight
None Scotian Shelf

Physical Location

City: Woods Hole
State/Province: MA

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Data Set Credit: The EPU layer were produced by NMFS OST in partnership with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 1167711
Date Effective From: 2022-03-07
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Haverland, Timothy J
Address: 1315 East West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282
Email Address:
Phone: 301-427-8137
Fax: 301-713-4137


CC ID: 1167712
Date Effective From: 2022-03-07
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NMFS Office of Science and Technology (OST)
Address: 1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-427-8100
Business Hours: 0700 - 1800 EST/EDT

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 1167713
Date Effective From: 2022-03-07
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Kennedy, John F
Address: 1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Email Address:
Phone: 301-427-8149


Currentness Reference: Publication Date

Extent Group 1

Extent Description:

Northeast US

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 1167715
W° Bound: -76
E° Bound: -65
N° Bound: 45.75
S° Bound: 35.5

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 1167725
Time Frame Type: Continuing
Start: 2018

Spatial Information

Reference Systems

Reference System 1

CC ID: 1167708

Coordinate Reference System

CRS Type: Geographic 2D
EPSG Code: EPSG:4326
EPSG Name: WGS 84
See Full Coordinate Reference System Information

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Use Constraints:

***No Warranty*** The user assumes the entire risk related to its use of these data. NMFS is providing these data "as is," and NMFS disclaims any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. It is strongly recommended that careful attention be paid to the contents of the metadata file associated with these data to evaluate dataset limitations, restrictions or intended use. In no event will NMFS be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of these data.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 1167716
Download URL:
Distributor: NMFS Office of Science and Technology (OST) (2022-03-07 - Present)

Data access URL

File Type: Feature Layer

Technical Environment


Esri ArcGIS

Data Quality

Conceptual Consistency:

no missing features Specification Title 2022-04-11T00:00:00 Each polygon compared to original shape file. 1




CC ID: 1167702
Source Contribution:

Bathymetry (

Grain Size (

Salinity (NMFS/NEFSC Oceanography Branch)

Temperature (NMFS/NEFSC Oceanography Branch)

SST ( )

CHLa (


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 1167703

A spatial principle components analysis examined the multivariate structure of the data. A disjoint cluster analysis was then applied using the K-means procedure on the principal component scores to select 4 to 8 possible clusters based on a minimum cluster-cell number of 20 contiguous units.

Process Contact: Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)
Phone (Voice): (508)495-2000

Process Step 2

CC ID: 1167704

Each data set includes the years 1998 to 2007, and was binned into 10-minute squares. For 10 minute squares without data, interpolations were made using ArcGIS’s built-in Inverse Distance Weighting (IDW) algorithm.

Process Date/Time: 2022-04-11 00:00:00
Process Contact: Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)
Phone (Voice): (508)495-2000

Process Step 3

CC ID: 1167705

We created the final EPUs by further simplifying the clusters with ArcMap 9.3’s boundary clean and majority filter algorithms.

Process Date/Time: 2022-04-11 00:00:00
Process Contact: Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)
Phone (Voice): (508)495-2000

Process Step 4

CC ID: 1167706

The dataset was then uploaded to the NOAA Geoplatform as Feature Service for display on DisMAP.

Process Date/Time: 2022-04-11 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 67001
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:67001
Metadata Record Created By: John F Kennedy
Metadata Record Created: 2022-04-12 17:53+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: Timothy J Haverland
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-04-13 20:04+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2022-04-13
Owner Org: OST
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year