Properties of hard-substrate habitats in the German Bight
Marine hard-substrate habitats are regarded as hotspots for biodiversity. Unfortunately, they are worldwide under various sources of pressure. This is especially true for coastal areas like the North Sea, where stones are comparatively rare, sea conditions very dynamic and anthropogenic influences high. To derive information about the locations of these habitats, their biotic and abiotic characteristics and structural changes over time, various methods from different disciplines are needed to be combined. In this project, underwater video observations, multi-annual high-resolution hydroacoustic surveys and automated image characterisation processes are used to understand and to describe the distribution patterns of hard substrates, the associated taxa assemblages and the temporal changes. These data are urgently needed for a successful monitoring and the development of strategies to maintain the ecological functions of hard-substrate habitats.