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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

Sandbanks are elevated areas of the seabed in the sublittoral which can reach to just under the water surface but which are submerged even at low tide. They carry no vegetation or sparse vegetation composed of macrophytic species (e.g. Zosteretum marinae, Cymodoceion nodosae).

Natura 2000-Code

Notes on habitat mapping

This habitat type represents elevated areas of the seabed and is limited to the sublittoral. On average the sublittoral extends to greater depths in the North Sea than in the Baltic Sea. This habitat is further characterized by the presence of sands (fine to coarse sands). Normally the sandbanks are subject to some redeposition of sediments as a result of coastal dynamics. They can be comprised of sand only or they can occur as more or less substantial deposits on top of submarine marl deposits or other hard substrates. The latter can be transitional in character to reefs (EU Code 1170) and can occur in intimate association with reefs, especially in the Baltic Sea. Sandbanks are differentiated from other habitat types by the dominance (in area) of the sandy substrate which is at least 40 cm in depth, and which gives rise to the typical communities of sandy seabeds. Individual erratics may rise up through the sand. The boundary to the intertidal mudflats of the North Sea is delimited by the mean low water tide (MLWT). The differentiation can be based on data on water depths. Examples of submarine sandbanks are the Oderbank (Baltic Sea) and the Doggerbank (North Sea).

Areas of sandbanks that regularly emerge at low tide should be included under sandflats (Natura 2000 Code: 1140). The 'wind wadden' (sediments exposed by action of wind) of the Baltic Sea should also be included under this habitat type.

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