Species-Habitat Matrix

The Species-Habitat Matrix is a conservation planning tool to evaluate the relative importance of 26 coastal, estuarine, and freshwater habitat types that fall within seven broader habitat categories, in terms of their value to 131 selected fish and invertebrate species. Specifically, the Matrix evaluates the importance of different habitat types as shelter, nursery, feeding, or spawning areas for each species during the egg/larval, juvenile/young of year, adult, and spawning adult life stages. The goal is to provide an index of habitat value in ACFHP’s four subregions through this one lens. It was developed with the guidance of over 100 experts from along the coast.

The Matrix is limited in that it does not consider other important functions, beyond the ones listed above, of habitat that also benefit species. Filtering water, processing nutrients, securing sediments, maintaining dissolved oxygen levels, and other ecosystem functions are critical for fishes and invertebrates, but are not considered in the analysis in order to keep the matrix and analyses simple and manageable.

How to Use the Tool

To search within the tool, click the blank box below the variable that you’re interested in. The options for that variable will show up below the box. Select an option by clicking on it, and it will populate in the box. If you’d like to search for more than one option within a variable, click the box again, and repeat these steps. You can select as many or as few options (including not selecting anything) for each variable as you’d like. You can also sort the order of the results using the up and down arrows on the right side of each column. This will sort alphabetically or numerically, depending on the column. The Matrix updates in close-to-real time, and you can download your search results or the entire Matrix by clicking the highlighted buttons below.

Does your search result in ‘no matching records found’? Make sure your selections are logical. For example, ‘American lobster’ (under ‘Species’) will yield 0 results if you also select ‘Mangrove Species’ (under ‘Habitat Type’), since American lobster do not live in mangroves. As another example, you will end up with 0 results if you select ‘Macroalgae’ under ‘Habitat Category’ and ‘Mangrove Species’ under ‘Habitat Type,’ since mangroves are not a type of macroalgae.

Please refer to the Species-Habitat Matrix Report for important information on how the data were gathered, how to interpret results, and qualifiers and exclusions.

Thank you for viewing and working with this database. Please contact ACFHPinfo@asmfc.org to provide feedback and to let us know how you are using the Species-Habitat Matrix in your own work.

SpeciesRegionHabitat CategoryHabitat TypeLife StageRankNumeric Rank