Use Cases

EMODnet Seabed Habitat products continues to grow in recognition within the wider community, aiding the delivery of a number of project across various themes.

EUSeaMap products, for example, have been used for assessing and reporting the status of European seas, designing ecological coherent  MPA networks, for regional mapping of ecosystem services and informing marine planning. 

For a review of how Broad-Scale Seabed Habitats Maps (BSHM) in Europe, such as EUSeaMap, helped support the implementation of Ecosystem-Based Management, and in particular Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Habitats Directive assessments, see Andersen et al. 2018.

Read more below for examples on the application of our products:

  • User Case 1 – “Applying modelled broad scale habitat maps in MPA network evaluations - the western Mediterranean Sea case study”

     

    Outcomes: Spatial analysis of habitat coverage within the North-West Mediterranean MPA network highlighted that various bathyal and abyssal designations did not meet their respective 2015 targets, set by the EU Habitats Directive.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Having mapping data readily available for download, users could save time and resources on collecting the information themselves, and begin conducting their analysis at a much earlier stage.

    Who used it:

    ISPRAItalian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research EEA – European Environment Agency

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps for the entire Western Mediterranean Sea

    How was the product used: Combining the EU MPA network datasets with the downloaded EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps allowed users to analyse coverage over time, and compare this against EU and International targets.

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 2 – “Contribution of EUSeaMap towards evaluating the ecological status of the marine environment”

     

    Outcomes: Users identified the main areas where disturbance from bottom-contact fishing was predicted to cause the most significant impact to benthic marine habitats. This work fed directly into the OSPAR Intermediate Assessment (2017) with future implications towards the Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

     How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: As well as saving time and resources on data collection, the supply of confidence maps enabled users to provide more detailed and transparent predictions to their deliverables. 

    OSPAR intermediate assessment 2017 output: seabed Disturbance

    Spatial distribution of aggregated disturbance from bottom-contact fishing using the 2010–2015 data series across OSPAR sub-regions (from OSPAR Assessment portal)

    Who used it:

    OSPAROslo/Paris Convention (for the protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic)

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: Habitat maps from survey in the North East Atlantic, EMODnet broad-scale habitat maps (EUSeaMap 2016) and EUSeMap 2016 confidence map

    How was the product used: EMODnet Seabed Habitatmaps were used in conjunction with the user’s data on fishing pressures and habitat sensitivity to produce an overall disturbance map of the North East Atlantic.

     

    Read more in the OSPAR Assessment portal

     

  • User Case 3 – “EUSeaMap in supporting implementation of transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Sea”

     

    Outcomes: Authors identified EMODNet’s broad-scale habitat maps as the best data source to represent marine benthic marine habitats in the Celtic Sea, with potential to support the implementation of a Maritime Spatial plan, as part of EU Directive 2014/89/EU.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Data are easily accessible and in a standardised format (INSPIRE compliant) which would allow for any transboundary or transnational implementation.

    Who used it:

    SIMCeltSupporting Implementation for Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap2 (2016) Broad-Scale Predictive Habitat Map

    How was the product used: Users compiled an inventory of available datasets that could be readily used for a proposed Maritime Spatial Plan in the Celtic Sea, as part of a two-year €1.8 million project.

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 4 - “Assessing oil spill sensitivity in unsheltered coastal environments using EUSeaMap”

    Outcomes: Using a pre-existing oil spill simulation, authors were able to map a sensitivity index across the Russian-Lithuanian coastline, and highlight the areas at greatest risk. The study highlighted the importance of harmonised datasets for transboundary oil spill impact assessments.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Users commented that resources were freely available, harmonised and of high resolution, suitable for a transboundary assessment

    Who used it:

    KU-MARSTECKlaipėda University, Marine Science and Technology Centre

    EMC-MRU – Environmental Management Center, Mykolas Romeris University

    When was it used: 2015

    What product was used: EUSeaMap2 (2016) Broad-Scale Habitat Map of the Baltic Sea

    How was the product used: Wave exposure, habitat type and substrate type data held within the attributes table of EUSeaMap, all fed in to the calculations determining the sensitivity index of each coastal segment.

    Abstract available here

  • User Case 5 - “Using EUSeaMap to predict effects of an invasive polychaete in the Baltic Sea”

    Outcomes: Authors were able to quantify the effects of the invasive polychaete Marenzelleria spp on sediment nutrient cycling in the Baltic Sea. The results identified that an overall reduction in the self-cleaning capacity of the basin would create a higher cost to stakeholders to meet international commitments such as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EMODnet data was found to have the best spatial resolution for deep sediments within the area of interest

    Who used it:

    AquabiotaWater Research

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2012

    How was the product used: The environmental variables influencing habitat type (namely depth, salinity, Secchi depth, energy at the seabed and wave exposure) were used to predict abundance, and therefore biomass of the invasive Marenzelleria spp in the Baltic.   

    Abstract available here

  • User Case 6 – “Investigating the effectiveness of MPA boundaries for low-resilience habitats”

    Outcomes: Authors identified that boundaries of successful no-take MPAs may still be zones of high stress for habitat forming species such as maerl. Additionally, authors suggested that MPA designations should re-consider boundaries in areas with low-resilience, key-forming habitat species.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was the only available source of detailed information on habitat composition and distribution in the North-West Mediterranean

    Who used it:

    Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia (IEO)The Spanish Institute of Oceanography

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: Broad-scale predictive habitat maps were used to direct the sampling of the study.

    Read more here

  • User Case 7 – “The aid of EUSeaMap in ecological coherence assessments of MPAs in the Baltic”

    Outcomes: The assessment indicated that although the target of 10% MPA coverage in the Baltic was met, further development is needed to achieve ecological coherence across MPAs.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Data was freely available and covered the whole of the Baltic (including Kattegat)

    Who used it:

    HELCOMBaltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

     When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: Broad-scale habitats were translated into thirty landscape categories using light, substrate and salinity within the Baltic – and used as a proxy for diversity.

    Read more here

  • User Case 8 – “Application of EUSeaMap in quantifying natural capital along the Portuguese continental shelf”

    Outcomes: Authors were able to spatially associate areas of high biological value with physical habitat characteristics and assign values to unprotected sites.   

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Habitats were classified according to EUNIS, providing a common and comparable European reference set of habitat types – as well as providing environmental data affecting habitat type within the data layer. 

    Who used it:

    Universidade de AveiroAveiro University

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: Broad-scale predictive habitat maps for the Portuguese continental shelf

    How was the product used:  Substrate and biological zone data were selected attributes to be overlaid with maps depicting ‘Biological Value’.

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 9 – “The role of EUSeaMap in building the first submarine electricity interconnection between Spain and France”

    Outcomes: Assessments highlighted shallow coastal habitats dominated by Rhodophytes, ascidians and brachiopods to have the highest potential impact from one of four proposals for the laying of electrical cables.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Having habitats classified to a community level (i.e. higher up the EUNIS hierarchy) allowed for a more detailed impact assessment to be conducted

    Who used it:

    BIOSFERA XXIon behalf of the Electricity Network of Spain (Red Eléctrica de España)

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Habitats under the EUNIS classification system were assessed against four proposed sites for electrical cable lines to be buried, and to identify habitats at greatest risk of impact.  

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 10 – “Quantifying life cycle impact assessments using benthic broad-scale habitats”

    Outcomes:. Authors were able to quantify indicators of ecosystem damage from disturbance of the seabed, highlighting areas with the longest estimated ecological recovery time. 

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUNIS classified substrates could be readily transcribed and subcategorized. Additionally, EUSeaMap gave a full coverage of all study sites.

    Who used it:

    NTNUNorwegian University of Science and Technology

    When was it used: Publication due for release in 2019

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  EUSeaMap was used to define the spatial extent of 16 substrate classes within the study area.

    Abstract available here

  • User Case 11 – “Using EUSeaMap to map potential cumulative impacts of multiple anthropogenic stressors in Danish marine waters”

    Outcomes: Results showed an impaired status for the Danish marine environment and, therefore, a greater need for co-ordination and harmonization to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Water Framework Directive.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was a key data source for defining benthic habitats in Danish waters

    Who used it:

    NIVA DenmarkWater Research

    When was it used: 2017

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Habitat shapefiles were merged, recategorized and used as an input to spatially depict cumulative impact stressors in Danish marine waters.

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 12 – “Using habitat data in the conservation of European red-listed species – A case for the Harbour Porpoise”

    Outcomes: Assessors highlighted environmental covariates with the greatest influence on porpoise density distribution models. Resulting distribution maps were then used to propose areas suitable for protection in Swedish waters.  

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap provided some of the data used in the habitat distribution models

    Who used it:

    SAMBAH ProjectStatic Acoustic Monitoring of the Baltic Sea Harbour Porpoise

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: GIS layers on environmental parameters

    How was the product used:  Benthic habitat data were fed into habitat models to assess habitat preferences.

    Read more here

  • User Case 13 – “Incorporation of broad-scale habitats in Ecological Impact Assessments – the case for offshore windfarm proposals”

    Outcomes: Assessors were able to characterise the benthic ecological resources in the zone of potential impact, providing up-to-date evidence to the consultation and highlighting the significance of impacts of the maximum design scenario. 

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Broad-scale habitat data and associated environmental variables were available and at full-coverage for the ecology study area, whilst other datasets were limited

    Who used it:

    Orsted Power (UK) LtdHornsea Project Three

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: EUNIS habitats were simplified into sub-categories and community types, which then fed into the Ecological Impact Assessment. The assessment focussed on the likely ecological changes through the introduction of artificial structures.

    Read more here

  • User Case 14 – “Application of predictive habitats in Ecological Distribution Models”

    Outcomes: Authors provided the most comprehensive and current distribution data for Paramuricea clavata, the first habitat suitability map for additional gorgonian coral species ranges and a predictive map for environmentally limiting points for species occurrence.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Bathymetry from EUSeaMap was the highest resolution dataset available

    Who used it:

    CCMARCentro de Ciências do Mar (Canter for Marine Sciences)

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: Modelled probability of coralligenous habitats as a proxy for hard-bottomed substrates and depth variables from EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used: Bathymetry from EUSeaMap was used as an environmental predictor for the Ecological Niche Model, further cross-validated by interception with probability habitat maps of coralligenous habitats.

    Read more here

  • User Case 15 – “Using EUSeaMap to map potential cumulative impacts on the Baltic Sea 2011-2016 as part of HELCOM ‘State of the Baltic Sea’ report”

    Outcomes: EUSeaMap and other habitat maps were used in the assessment of cumulative pressures and impacts by several human activities in the Baltic Sea during the years 2011-2016. In particular the results informed the latest HELCOM holistic assessment of the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea (“State of the Baltic Sea report”, HELCOM 2018a).

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: EUSeaMap was a key data source for defining ecosystem components in the Baltic Sea to compute:

    • Pressure Index, giving information on areas where the greatest pressure from human activities are likely to occur; and
    • the Baltic Sea Impact Index showing the distribution of potential cumulative effects from these pressures

    Who used it:

    NIVA DenmarkWater Research

    SYKEFinnish Environment Institute

    When was it used: 2018

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2016

    How was the product used:  Habitat shapefiles were merged, recategorized and used as an input to spatially depict cumulative impact stressors in Baltic Waters.

     

    Read more here

  • User Case 16 – “EMODnet Seabed Habitats and the IUCN Red Listed Marine Habitats”

    Outcomes: Contributing parties were able to evaluate and quantify the level of threat to marine benthic habitats across four regional seas of Europe, identifying specific EUNIS habitats at greatest risk.

    How EMODnet Seabed Habitats helped the user: Collated data were available in the EUNIS classification system allowing a transboundary evaluation to be made.  

    ECEuropean Commission

    When was it used: 2016

    What product was used: EUSeaMap 2012 and Habitat Maps from Survey

    How was the product used: Benthic datasets classified to EUNIS level 4 (or higher where available) were assessed against 5 Red List criterion per regional sea. Criteria included:

    • Habitat reduction
    • Geographic restriction
    • Reduction in abiotic quality
    • Reduction in biotic quality
    • Overall probability of collapse

    Read more here