Home > Public Domain Data > The new Ecological Marine Units data and viewer

The new Ecological Marine Units data and viewer

The Ecological Marine Units (EMU) explorer portrays a 3-dimensional classification of physiographic and ecological information about ocean water. For many years the EMU has been one of my 10 favorite apps for teaching and learning. For even longer than that, we in the GIS world for many years were stuck with what we had in the analog mapping days — with most maps of the ocean shown as one continuous blue expanse with no further information. Then the next breakthrough was that the community had access to ocean floor maps. But the Ecological Marine Units app and data takes the innovations to a whole different level, literally. We have reviewed the EMU app before on the Spatial Reserves blog, but it has recently been replaced with a new app and sets of data which makes it more useful than ever. 

Access the Ecological Marine Units app on: https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/emu/

The former viewer only allowed 2D views, while the new viewer allows the user to choose among 2D and 3D views. The user can choose any ocean location to see these statistically-unique marine slices from sea level down to the ocean floor at about 10 km intervals. Truly an amazing data set. A three-dimensional mesh of over 50 million points was fed into a systematic statistical clustering which generated XX ecologically/physiographically unique classifications of ocean water: Ecological Marine Units (EMU). This segmentation is represented as slices of the water column, from sea surface to floor, at a 1/4 degree by 1/4 degree resolution. The EMU app (see screen beloe) also allows what I consider to be the most useful addition–a choice for the user to access change over time, all the way through the depth column.

The data behind the app is here as a point mesh feature layer of over 52 million points: https://arcg.is/0vfuSy and shown below in ArcGIS Online:

How are the data collected? They are collected via Argo: Argo is an international program that collects information from inside the ocean using a fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and move up and down between the surface and a mid-water level. Each instrument (float) spends almost all its life below the surface. The name Argo was chosen because the array of floats works in partnership with the Jason earth observing satellites that measure the shape of the ocean surface. (In Greek mythology, Jason sailed on his ship Argo in search of the golden fleece).  For more about Argo, see: https://argo.ucsd.edu/. For a map showing Argo locations, see: https://www.ocean-ops.org/board?t=argo. To see a dashboard with real-time feeds along with the Argo locations, see: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/7665489fbc6d44bc95d47dc041c1c034.

To examine a group of related and content-rich data items, access this page:

https://esri.maps.arcgis.com/home/group.html?id=6c78a5125d3244f38d1bc732ef0ee743#overview

The classification key for the Ecological Marine Viewer is as follows:

0 Epipelagic, Moderate to Cool, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
1 Mesopelagic, Cold, Polyhaline, Severely Hypoxic, Low Nitrate, Medium Phosphate, High Silicate
2 Epipelagic, Cold, Polyhaline, Hypoxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
3 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Severely Hypoxic, High Nitrate, Medium Phosphate, High Silicate
4 Mesopelagic, Cold, Polyhaline, Severely Hypoxic, Low Nitrate, High Phosphate, High Silicate
5 Epipelagic, Superchilled, Polyhaline, Highly Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
6 Epipelagic, Cold, Polyhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
7 Epiplagic, Moderate to Cool, Mesohaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
8 Epipelagic, Moderate to Cool, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
9 Mesopelagic, Moderate to Cool, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate

10 Mesopelagic, Cold, Euhaline, Severely Hypoxic, High Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
11 Epipelagic, Moderate to Cool, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
12 Epipelagic, Very Cold, Mesohaline, Severely Hypoxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
13 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Hypoxic, High Nitrate, Medium Phosphate, High Silicate
14 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, High Nitrate, Low Phosphate, High Silicate
15 Bathypelagic, Cold, Polyhaline, Anoxic, Low Nitrate, High Phosphate, High Silicate
16 Epipelagic, Very Cold, Mesohaline, Highly Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
17 Epipelagic, Cold, Mesohaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
18 Epipelagic, Warm to Very Warm, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
19 Epipelagic, Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate

20 Epipelagic, Very Cold, Mesohaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
21 Epipelagic, Warm to Very Warm, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
22 Epipelagic, Cold, Mesohaline, Hypoxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
23 Epipelagic, Frozen/Superchilled, Euhaline, Highly Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
24 Epipelagic, Warm to Very Warm, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
25 Epipelagic, Frozen/Superchilled, Euhaline, Highly Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
26 Mesopelagic, Moderate to Cool, Euhaline, Hypoxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
27 Epipelagic, Very Cold, Polyhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
28 Epiplagic, Moderate to Cool, Mesohaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
29 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate

30 Epipelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
31 Epipelagic, Frozen/Superchilled, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Medium Silicate
32 Epipelagic, Warm to Very Warm, Mesohaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
33 Mesopelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Severely Hypoxic, High Nitrate, Medium Phosphate, Medium Silicate
34 Mesopelagic, Very Cold, Polyhaline, Anoxic, Low Nitrate, High Phosphate, High Silicate
35 Epipelagic, Frozen/Superchilled, Euhaline, Oxic, Low Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
36 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, Medium Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Low Silicate
37 Bathypelagic, Very Cold, Euhaline, Oxic, High Nitrate, Low Phosphate, Medium Silicate

Changes over time in variables by depth can be viewed in the new EMU app.

3D view from the Ecological Marine Unit Explorer.

I highly recommend investigating this amazing resource and using it for research and instruction.

Joseph Kerski

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