A2.1 Shore Unit Data

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The shore unit table is part of the physical database. The following fields should be appended to the shore unit database.

Land Use -- A single letter code is chosen for the land use activity in the vicinity of the shore unit which is apt to have an influence on the distribution and abundance of species in that unit. The selection of categories, category definitions, and the establishment of appropriate zones of influence by each land use category will require further development.

Code Term Definition
R Recreational Use Shore unit is in a park or other recreational zone and/or receives predominantly recreational use.
H Harvested Shore unit contains a clam bed or other resource which is cultured or harvested on a regular basis.
I Industrial Use Shore unit is commercially developed or is adjacent to industrial uses that significantly affect the unit.
S Residential Use Shore unit is bordered by residential development.
U Unknown Shore unit is known to be affected by human land uses, but the specific uses are unknown.
N None There are no known land use activities in the shore unit or which directly affect the shore unit.
C Cultural and Historic Uses Shore unit has previously been used by First Nations or other users and the remains of those uses or the activity still affect the shore unit (e.g., shell middens)

Freshwater Influence -- Intertidal and subtidal biota may be influenced by freshwater both temporally and spatially.

Code Term Definition
C Continuous Salinity remains below 25 ppt throughout the year.
E Episodic Salinity is normally above 25 ppt throughout a year, but occasionally goes below 25 ppt.
F Freshet Salinity is below 25 ppt during spring runoff only.
N None Salinity is rarely or never below 25 ppt.
U Unknown The salinity associated with the shore unit is unknown.

The choice of 25 ppt as a boundary for a change in biota is arbitrary. The selection of a more appropriate and meaningful value will require further research.

A2.2 Band Data

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Table A2.1 shows the fields required for the band database.

TABLE A2.1 - Band database

Unit ID






Dist. Code


Ele. Top

Ele. Base


Date Coll.



TABLE A2.2 - Biological colour band descriptions developed for the west coast of Vancouver Island

Zone Colour Band Name Code Name Colour Description Exposure Category
Supratidal (A) Verrucaria VER black or bare rock splash zone: sometimes marked by black encrusting lichen & blue-green algae. May include "yellow lichen" in splash zone especially at higher exposures. width can be an index of wave exposure
  grasses & Salicornia SAL light/bright green marsh grasses, halophytes, Salicornia P, SP, estuary
Inter-tidal (B) Fucus FUC golden brown dominated by Fucus; includes B. gladula. At high SE; this band includes Pelvetiopsis which is the same colour. SE, SP, P
  upper barnacle BAR grey-white continuous band of B. glandula; may also be bare rock, upper intertidal SP,P
  barnacle mussel MUS grey-blue dominated by Mytilus californianus - Semibalanus carriosus - with scattered Pollicipes E, SE
  Ulva ULV bright green Ulva/'Ulvaria' greens, filamentous greens; colour band is sometimes due to complex of bleached reds in lower intertidal.  

Distribution -- A code describes the distribution of bands in the shore unit.

Code Term Definition
P Patchy The band is distributed intermittently throughout the shore unit.
C Continuous The band occurs throughout the shore unit.

Figure A2.1 - shows the difference between patchy and continuous distribution. The one exception is the splash zone which is described as:

W Wide Zone is less than 1 metre wide.
M Medium Zone is between 1 metre and 5 metres wide.
N Narrow Zone is greater than 5 metres wide.

Elevation-Top -- The elevation (in metres) of the component above or below lowest low water at the land edge.

Elevation-Base -- The elevation (in metres) of the component above or below lowest low water at the seaward edge.

Width -- This field records the average across-shore dimension (in metres) of each band. This measure will only be entered when a ground survey has been conducted.

Method -- The method of collecting visual records of the shoreline component are recorded in this field. The codes and categories are described in Table A2.3

TABLE A2.3 - Method of data collection: a measure of effort level and resolution

Code Survey Method Description Level of Effort Resolution
1 general aerial in-flight commentary and data recording <0.5 hr/unit unit/zone
2 detailed aerial in-flight commentary followed by analysis of video tapes and/or air photos 0.5-2 hs./unit unit/zone/component
3 field general visual survey to identify presence of cover species <1 hr./unit zone/component/ban /species groups
4 general site systematic visual survey to determine relative abundance of common species 1-2 hr./unit zone/component/band /10-20 species
5 detailed site detailed analysis of distribution and abundance of species supplemented by transects and/or quadrats and/or infaunal sampling, replicated in each Bio-association. >2 hr./unit zone/component/band />20 species

Date Collected -- The date the biotic database records were created/collected is recorded as DDMMMYYYY.

Name -- Record the name of a key individual/firm responsible for the collection and recording of the initial data set used to create the biotic database.

FIGURE A2.1 - Distribution codes and examples

A2.3 Biota Data

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Table A2.4 shows the fields required for the biota database.

TABLE A2.4 - Biota database

Unit ID




Species Code

Species Name


Micro Habitat


Unit ID, Zone, Component, Band -- These fields link the biota data with relevant information in other databases, specifically the band, component and shore unit databases.

Species Code -- A number code is assigned for species and genus (X.XXX). The integer portion of the number indicates the taxonomic group and the numbers after the decimal indicate the genus and species. Appendix 1 provides a provisional list of species names and species codes.

Species name -- This field records the genus and species name or a common name for a species or group of species. See Appendix 1 for examples.

Abundance Code -- The occurrence of each species is measured according to general categories of abundance.

Code Term Definition
R Rare Only one or two isolated individuals of the organism occur in the band.
F Few The organism occurs sporadically or in small patches in the band.
C Common The organism is present in moderate numbers throughout most or all of the band.
A Abundant The organism occurs in large numbers throughout most or all of the band.

Note the combinations of abundance and distribution may alter the appearance of organism abundance in the fields. Figure A2.2 provides several combinations to serve as reference points for assigning abundance values. The size of individual oganisms may also affect the visual estimate of abundance and should be compensated for.

Microhabitat -- When a species is found in a well defined habitat, a two letter code is used to define the location of species within a band. For example:

Code Term Definition
TP Tide pool The organism is found only in tide pools.
CR Crevice The organismis found only in rock crevices.
MB Mussel bed The organism is only found in association with aggregations of mussels.
UR Under rock The organisms are only found under rocks.
GS General Substrate This code is only entered when a species occurs both in a microhabitat and outside of a microhabitat on the common substrate. In most cases species do not occur in a microhabitat and the field is left blank.

FIGURE A2.2 - Abundance codes and examples under various distribution patterns

HTML Created: July 97

Copyright 1997 Province of British Columbia

Published by the Resources Inventory Committee