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  • Sandbanks (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are areas elevated from their surroundings that consist mainly of sand, but where cobbles and boulders can occur. Distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling, GIS analysis and only limited ground-truthing has been carried out. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Reefs (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are hard compact substrata (either biogenic or geogenic) on solid and soft bottoms, which arise from the seafloor in the sublittoral and littoral zone. Distribution of mapped Natura 2000 habitat “Reefs” based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling and limited ground-truthing. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Boreal Baltic islets and small islands (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are groups of skerries, islets or single small islands, mainly in the outer archipelago or offshore areas. They are important nesting sites for birds and resting sites for seals. The surrounding sublittoral vegetation is also included. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Only Sweden and Finland reported occurrences of boreal Baltic islets and small islands.

  • Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are often devoid of vascular plants, usually coated by blue algae and diatoms. They are of particular importance as feeding grounds for wildfowl and waders. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Only Denmark, Germany and Estonia reported occurrences of mudflats and sandflats. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling and/or GIS analysis. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Lagoons are expanses of shallow coastal waters, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sandbanks or shingle, or by rocks. Salinity may vary from brackish water to hypersalinity depending on rainfall, evaporation and addition of fresh seawater from storms, temporary flooding, or tidal exchange. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling and/or GIS analysis. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Submarine structures made by leaking gases (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are also known as “bubbling reefs”. These formations support a zonation of diverse benthic communities consisting of algae and/or invertebrate specialists of hard marine substrates different to that of the surrounding habitat. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Only Sweden and Denmark reported occurrences of submarine structures made by leaking gases.

  • Large shallow inlets bays (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are large, shallow indentations of the coast, sheltered from wave action and where, in contrast to estuaries, the influence of freshwater is generally limited. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on GIS analysis and modelling, but also field inventories and ground-truthing has been carried out in some areas. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Estuaries (according to Habitats Directive Annex I) are coastal inlets that are strongly influenced by freshwater. The distribution map is based on data submission by HELCOM contracting parties. Most of the submitted data is based on modelling, GIS analysis and/or aerial photos. Data coverage, accuracy and the methods in obtaining the data vary between countries.

  • Broad-scale habitat maps for the Baltic Sea have been produced in the EUSeaMap project in 2016. For German and Estonian marine areas, national (more accurate) datasets were used. German data included both substrate and light information (division into infralittoral/circalittoral). Estonian data included only substrate and the division into light regimes was obtained from the EuSeaMap data. Here, the habitat class “circalittoral mud” includes classes “Fine mud”, “Sandy mud” and “Mud to sandy mud” of the original data, in the circalittoral zone. The original polygon maps have been converted to 1 km x 1 km grid. The scale of the substrate data used in broad-scale habitat maps varies from 1:250 000 to 1:1M (data from EMODnet Geology). Coarser resolution data has been used in areas, where 1: 250 000 substrate data has not been available. Due to different scales used, the habitat classes may show different sized patterns in different areas.

  • Broad-scale habitat maps for the Baltic Sea have been produced in the EUSeaMap project in 2016. For German and Estonian marine areas, national (more accurate) datasets were used. German data included both substrate and light information (division into infralittoral/circalittoral). Estonian data included only substrate and the division into light regimes was obtained from the EuSeaMap data. Here, the habitat class “infralittoral mixed substrate” includes classes “mixed sediment” of the original data, in the infralittoral zone. The original polygon maps have been converted to 1 km x 1km grid. The scale of the substrate data used in broad-scale habitat maps varies from 1:250 000 to 1:1M (data from EMODnet Geology). Coarser resolution data has been used in areas, where 1: 250 000 substrate data has not been available. Due to different scales used, the habitat classes may show different sized patterns in different areas.