German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

Mainmenu



Borkum Reef Ground SAC


 Transcript of the Borkum Reef Ground SAC video

The Borkum Reef Ground hosts a rich diversity of fauna species in a relatively small area. The many different ecological communities come together in a great mosaic of biodiversity. One of the site’s main functions is revealed in conjunction with the tides: It is an important stepping stone for the spread of species across the southern North Sea.


Fact sheet for Borkum Reef Ground SAC
(In German)
 Borkum Reef Ground
EU-Code: DE 2104-301
(In German)
Coordinate of Centroid:
 6°20’00" E 53°55’00" N
Habitat types Sandbanks 521 km²
Reefs 23 km²
Species/Population Harbour porpoise
(Phocoena phocoena)    
51-100
Common seal
(Phoca vitulina)
251-500
Grey seal
(Halichoerus grypus)
11-50
Twait shad
(Alosa fallax)
Recorded, no current population statistics

Characteristic epifauna

Sand mason worm (Lanice conchilega). Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)
Photo: Sand mason worm (Lanice conchilega). Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)
Sea anemones (Metridium senile) on a boulder. Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)
Photo: Sea anemones (Metridium senile) on a boulder. Photo: Hübner/Krause (BfN)

The main feature of this approximately 625 km2 protected area with depths of between 18 m and 33 m is a large sandbank covering some 521 km2 and including patches of reef. The site borders the Netherlands to the west and the German 12-mile zone to the south. Its northern and eastern limits reflect the extent and distribution of sandbank communities. The sandbank is mostly medium to coarse sand.

The sandbank with its patches of cobble field has a characteristic diversity of substrates and habitats. The coarse sand communities typical of sandbank habitats (Goniadella-Spisula, a tube worm/clam community) are interspersed with a fine mosaic of benthic communities. The reefs host a characteristic epifauna of sea anemones, dead man’s fingers, white weed, sea squirts, hornwrack, sponges and various crustaceans.

The tightly interlocking presence of these two habitat types accounts for one of the site’s special ecological qualities, because it has exceptional biodiversity. Looking at the macrozoobenthos alone – sea floor creatures from one millimeter upwards – some 165 species have been found there since research began in 1998. Many of these are on the Red List.

Species under Annex II of the Habitats Directive

Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) are sometimes seen at the site. Photo: K. Wollny-Goerke
Photo: Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) are sometimes seen at the site. Photo: K. Wollny-Goerke

Habitats Directive Annex II species found here are harbour porpoises, grey seals and common seals. These are consequently included in the conservation objectives. Harbour porpoises are spotted with low average frequency but on an ongoing basis, sometimes with calves. They are thought to be part of the fairly small, endangered subpopulation of the southern North Sea whose distribution centre is off the Dutch coast. The Borkum Reef Ground serves the two seal species mainly as a feeding habitat, but partly also as a corridor for migration, for example to feeding sites and other resting sites.

A further Habitats Directive Annex II species covered by the conservation objectives is the twait shad, which finds marine habitats for feeding and wintering on the site. This primarily relates to the population concentrated in the outer Ems estuary.

Conservation objectives

General conservation objectives have been set as follows for the habitat types and species by which the site is defined:

  • Maintenance and restoration of the site’s specific ecological functions, biological diversity and natural hydrodynamics and morphodynamics
  • Maintenance and restoration at favourable conservation status of habitat type Code 1110 (sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time) and habitat type Code 1170 (reefs) together with their characteristic and endangered ecological communities and species
  • Maintenance and restoration at favourable conservation status of the following Habitats Directive species and their natural habitats: Harbour porpoise, common seal, grey seal and twait shad

Swimming crab (Liocarcinus depurator). Photo: BfN
Photo: Swimming crab (Liocarcinus depurator). Photo: BfN
Ideal conditions for sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus). Photo: BfN
Photo: Ideal conditions for sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus). Photo: BfN

Natura 2000 sites in the German North Sea EEZ:

 

 North sea

 Dogger Bank

 Sylt Outer Reef

Borkum Reef Ground

 Eastern German Bight

 

Marine Nature Conservation Departement

 Contact

Map of the North Sea

Overview map of Natura 2000 sites in the North Sea

Natura 2000 sites according to the EU Habitats and Birds Directives in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in German territorial waters in the North Sea. (As of 07.2011)
[+] show map


North Sea: Sea floor topography

North Sea: Sea floor topography (As of 07.2011)
[+] zoom

 Print