Identification of marine natural habitat types in the Wadden Sea of Schleswig-Holstein according to FFH

The Habitats Directive (FFH) of the European Union (EU) describes for coastal seafloors that are permanently covered by water (subtidal) three so called marine natural habitat types. These compartments have to be monitored and evaluated, and their status has to be reported every six years to the EU by the responsible authority.  The relevant habitat types are "subtidal sandbanks", "large shallow inlets and bays", and "reefs". In the scope of the implementation of the Habitats Directive mandatory definitions and mapping instructions have been recommended that mainly base on the geological setting of the site.

3D presentation of the sea floor in a tidal channel based on a side scan sonar mosaic.
3D presentation of the sea floor in a tidal channel based on a side scan sonar mosaic.

Duration: 2011 - 2019

In the view of the above, the FTZ has been carrying out sedimentological mapping and bathymetric surveys in the sublittoral areas of the Wadden Sea in Schleswig-Holstein since 2011 Furthermore, efforts are being made to detect habitats that extend beyond the seabed, such as the habitats of mussel banks or areas with a lot of shell debris or coarse sediment, and to document the distribution and development of these areas. The investigations are carried out on behalf of and in cooperation with the administration of the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park authority.

For the seafloor mapping hydroacoustic devices like side scan sonar and specific echo sounders are applied. The comprehensive but in matters of sediment distribution indirect hydroacoustic data (backscatter strength) are made comparable to physical sediment parameters by information derived from discrete sampling with sediment grabs or dredges and on the basis of expert knowledge. The outcomes of this classification and correlation process are compiled into cartographic descriptions of the sedimentological properties of the seabed.

In the framework of this survey program and complemented by data from other own research projects all areas depicted in the following map were sedimentologically mapped in described in a comparable way. Further information about subtidal habitats is available in the Wadden Sea Quality Status Report 2017

Survey areas
© Maria Stage, FTZ Westküste

 

 

Research division:

Coordination:

  • Dr. K. Ricklefs

Staff:

  • Dr. K. Ricklefs
  • M.Sc. M. Stage
  • Jens Pauksztat
  • Uwe Becker
  • Burkhard Meier
  • Daniela Koch