EMODnet Seabed Habitats news


EMODnet Seabed Habitats data crucial in assessing the extent of physical damage to benthic habitats in the North-East Atlantic


EMODnet Seabed Habitats data allowed the mapping of potential disturbance to benthic habitats due to fishing in the north-east Atlantic. The assessment was part of the wider OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017  , which evaluates the status of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. The assessment contributes to delivery of both the OSPAR North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (The OSPAR Strategy) and the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive .

 OSPAR BHR physical disturbance map

The authors assessed physical damage by using habitat distribution maps at EUNIS Level 3, combined with maps of fishing pressures and information on habitat sensitivities to fishing. The majority of the habitat data used in this assessment are derived from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal, including EMODnet broad-scale seabed habitat map (EUSeaMap) and more detailed habitat maps from survey.  Furthermore, the confidence maps provided with EMODnet Seabed Habitats maps were used to calculate confidence in the predictions of physical disturbance. The EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal provided a one-stop shop for finding and downloading these data, saving the authors time and effort on data collection.

More information on the methods and results can be found on the OSPAR Assessment portal.

Image  source: https://oap.ospar.org/en/ospar-assessments/intermediate-assessment-2017/biodiversity-status/habitats/extent-physical-damage-predominant-and-special-habitats/


The EUSeaMap technical report is out!

23rd June 2017

Read all about the EMODnet broad-scale habitat map for Europe (EUSeaMap) and its confidence layers.

The technical report (Populus et al., 2017) includes:

  • The method used in the EUSeaMap model to predict the distribution of physical habitats in all European seas;
  • A list of all the datasets used to create each habitat descriptor layer as input into the EUSeaMap model;
  • All threshold values used to classify the habitats descriptor layers and how each threshold value was obtained;
  • The confidence assessment method.

The Excel annex (Manca et al., 2017) to the technical report contains the tables used to create the MSFD Benthic Broad Habitat Types from EUSeaMap 2016.


Map of MSFD Benthic Broad Habitat Types



14th June 2017

We have updated our MSFD harmonised habitat map to reflect the changes to the MSFD benthic broad (or predominant) habitat types classification brought by the recent EU Commission Decision (17 May 2017).  


The EMODnet Seabed Habitats MSFD Benthic Broad Habitat Types map is derived from the EUSeaMap 2016 broad-scale predictive habitat map. It covers all European seas at roughly 250m resolution. Its coverage is being extended to the Barents Sea by 2019.


View and Download the data using our Interactive Map.



A new phase for EMODnet Seabed Habitats

5th May 2017

EMODnet Seabed Habitats has entered its third phase with a successful kick off meeting of the partners in Cambridge.

Partners photo

New activities include:

  • The collation of habitat point data from all over Europe;
  • The review of single habitats modelling in Europe; and
  • The collation of modelled single habitats maps,  for selected habitats.

In the next two years we will also be working on:

  • Collating new habitat maps from survey;
  • Producing new kinetic energy layers from waves and currents, in some areas;
  • Extending the coverage and improving the broad scale habitat map (EUSeaMap); and
  • Improving the interactive map for end users.

Watch this space!

EUSeaMap 2016 now available

28th October 2016

Get the new broad-scale habitat map for Europe from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal.

The European Marine broad-scale habitat map (EUSeaMap) 2016 uses the most up to date physical and biological information for European waters to produce a predictive map of physical habitats covering European waters. Regions covered include the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, as well as the north-eastern Atlantic and Arctic oceans from Norway to the Canary Islands.

Seabed habitats are classified according to the EUNIS classification system (up to level 4) as well as the predominant habitat types from the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

EUSeaMap 2016 is, for the first time, accompanied by a confidence assessment; an easy to use and transparent qualitative assessment of the input data and model process.

For more details on EUSeaMap 2016 see the 2016 final report.

Habitat maps from survey - individual downloads

18th October 2016

We have updated our download framework for our "Other" and "EUNIS" habitat maps from surveys datasets, you to download individual maps (if they are made publicly available by their data owner) as zip packages should you wish to access only a specific dataset.

This can be performed through our download page by selecting the map(s) in the relevant dropdown list, or by checking the "select all" box to download the entire map holdings as a single zip file.

When viewing the layers on the interactive map, the right click query menu now also brings up the option to download the map in question. This will take you to the download page with the specific map already checked for download.

2015 OSPAR habitats dataset available for viewing and download

1st July 2016

The 2015 international dataset of OSPAR  Threatened and/or Declining Habitats is now available to view on the interactive map and download.

The dataset is compiled on behalf of the OSPAR Commission by JNCC, working with representatives from each of the OSPAR contracting parties.

New 2016 light layers now available from the EMODnet seabed habitats mapper

26th May 2016

Datasets showing the amount of light reaching the seabed around Europe are now available to download from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats interactive map.

Light at the seabed data has been incorporated into the spatial model used to create the EUSeaMap phase 2 habitat map, which will be published in September 2016.  Anyone wishing to use these light layers for research or commercial purposes can now do so, as long as the originators are credited in any publications.

Newly available datasets are:
Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) at the sea surface
Coefficient of light attenuation in water (KDPAR)
PAR at the seabed
Fraction of surface PAR reaching the seabed
Number of satellite images for each pixel of KDPAR

Values of surface PAR and KDPAR have been derived from data collected by the European Space Agencies MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) between 2005 and 2009.

EMODnet Seabed Habitats at the ICES Annual Science Conference

29th September 2015

EMODnet Seabed Habitats colleagues attended the ICES Annual Science Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark last week to discuss current issues in marine science.

Staff from JNCC (UK), Ifremer (France), NIVA-DK & GEUS (Denmark) attended the conference to liaise with peers over relevant mapping topics, and investigate ways in which EMODnet SBH can aid the scientific community in its research on our oceans.

Eleonora Manca (JNCC) and Mickaël Vasquez (Ifremer) presented on EMODnet Seabed Habitat's broad-scale mapping products "EUSeaMap", and how they are currently being used in a variety of projects and assessments across European seas.

The extended abstract for the presentation is available on our project outputs page.

2014 OSPAR threatened/declining habitats dataset

17th August 2015

The updated 2014 OSPAR dataset of threatened/declining habitats in the North-East Atlantic is now available to view and download through our webGIS.

The OSPAR dataset, hosted by EMODnet Seabed Habitats, is a publicly available composite data product combining submissions from OSPAR contracting parties concerning surveyed records of habitats within the OSPAR list of threatened and/or declining species and habitats.

The dataset is updated annually with new submissions and is used as a source of data in a wide variety of marine management projects.

EMODnet SBH Meeting April 2015 - Bucharest, Romania

3rd May 2015

EMODnet Seabed Habitats held the first of its two annual meetings for 2015 in Bucharest, Romania.

Hosted by our Romanian partners GeoEcoMar, the meeting covered a wide variety of topics and discussions relevant to the portal. 

Topics high on the agenda included the upcoming expansion (and update) of our broadscale predictive habitat maps (EUSeaMap), refinement of the processes that underly the creation of the broadscale maps, updates on our sister portals, and the continued collation of habitat maps from specific surveys or external projects.

We would like to thank GeoEcoMar for their hospitality.

Our next meeting will be at the general EMODnet Jamboree on the week commencing 21st October in Oostende, Belgium.

We want your maps!

27th March 2015

EMODnet Seabed Habitats is seeking to collect and collate seabed habitat maps from third parties wishing to increase the use for their data products.

As well as being the home of the "EUSeaMap" broad-scale predictive habitat maps, EMODnet Seabed Habitats also holds and publishes a large number of habitat maps collected from external surveys and projects which can be both viewed on our Interactive Map and downloaded.

We are seeking to increase the coverage of our data holdings to provide the public and organisations the best available evidence on which to base decisions, as well as providing curious minds with an insight into what's down there on the sea floor!

If you have habitat maps that you feel are relevant to EMODnet Seabed Habitats, please visit our Contributing Data webpage and  - we'd be happy to include your habitat map within the dataset.

New publication: EUSeaMap: a broad-scale physical habitat map for European Seas

9th September 2014

Cover page of EUSeaMap exective summaryA new booklet EUSeaMap: a broad-scale physical habitat map for European Seas has now been published and it is available on the Project Outputs section of the website.

It contains a description of the EUSeaMap phase 1 products and achievements, as well as the plans for the second phase of EUSeaMap (2013-2016). It summarises the  benefits of predictive maps and the principles behind creating such maps. Examples of how EUSeaMap products have been applied in marine research and management are also given.


A new portal is launched!

9th September 2014

The new EMODnet portal for Seabed Habitats has been launched. The portal's main feature is an interactive map, which consolidates the former MESH and EUSeaMap portals to provide a single place to view both broad-scale predictive habitat maps, such as EUSeaMap, and more detailed habitat maps from survey, such as those produced under the MESH and MESH Atlantic projects.

As the MESH and MESH Atlantic projects have come to an end, this new portal allows the MESH projects' data to remain accessible to the public. Furthermore, popular products, such as the MESH mapping guide or the MESH Confidence Assessment Tool for example, will still be available in the MESH section of the EMODnet Seabed Habitats website.

The portal and its interactive map allows users to view and download for free over 2000 square km of seabed habitat maps. The map layers include:

  • Detailed seabed habitat maps from surveys;
  • EUSeaMap harmonised and regional broad-scale predictive habitat maps;
  • Input layers of physical variables at the seabed (such as energy, light and depth);
  • Confidence maps.

Layers can be exported directly to the user’s personal GIS desktop applications using the Web Map Service (WMS). Metadata associated with the layers is accessible through the portal in collaboration with the ICES Spatial Facility. The mapper help manual is designed to help users discover all functionalities of the interactive map.

The portal will continue to be updated with new maps as they are produced and collated by the EMODnet Seabed Habitats project. In the future the portal's functionality will be improved to account for the increased volumes of data expected.

All publications produced by the EUSeaMap projects can be accessed through the dedicated product output pages.

User feedback on the new portal is appreciated! .


EMODnet central portal news

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