The Kent & Essex district includes a wide variety of marine environments, with a wide range of substrate types (rock, sand, gravel, mud or combinations of these), exposed and sheltered areas and shallow intertidal areas and deep subtial areas. It is this diverse range of conditions that has helped create a wide range of habitats and it is these habitats that in turn that support and provide for the wide range of species in our waters.
As well as physical conditions creating specific habitats in certain conditions specific marine species can dominate a particular habitat. These species in turn can influence the distribution of other animals and plants found in the habitat and add a further biological aspect to how we define of the habitats.
Scientists have a classification system for marine habitats, and have developed some specialist terms to describe the different depth zones in which particular habitats are found. Depth has a very strong influence on marine life – there will be quite different communities living at the different heights on the beach, and these will all be distinct from those in shallow, mid-depth and very deep water.