questions concerning the linkages between ecological processes operating at relatively small-scales and oceanographic processes impacting these systems at larger scales. A dedicated regional focus provides the framework for simultaneously conducting basic and applied research in biological oceanography, ecology, and conservation biology aimed at understanding changes in biodiversity due to human activities.

Discussed below are six types of habitats that would be contained within regional model systems. They are described in terms of the intrinsic interest and value of the regions, how they have been or may be impacted by anthropogenic effects, and the compelling opportunities for study. The systems cover the complete range of spatial scales discussed earlier (see also Figure 3), but the degree of understanding of processes that control biodiversity within and across these scales varies widely among the systems. The first three systems (estuaries and bays,

Figure 3

Regions of the marine environment.



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