EMIS - EUNIS Broadscale Seabed Habitats of the Northeast Atlantic and Adjacent Seas

Collection: EMIS : Environmental Marine Information System 


The EUNIS-compliant geospatial datasets concerning broadscale seabed habitat distributions that are currently available (Spring 2015) from the EMODNET portal cover only around half of the European Union (EU) waters in the Northeast Atlantic and adjacent Seas. This work focused on expeditiously complementing this coverage by bringing in, and harmonizing where needed, complementary EUNIS-compliant data from the UNEP/GRIDA Global Seafloor Geomorphic Features Map and the EEA EIONET Ecosystem Map. The polygon shapefile produced extends for approximately 8.7 million square kilometres, spreading out to the limits of the Extended Continental Shelf areas claimed in the by EU Member States in the Northeast Atlantic. This new dataset significantly improves the existing EUNIS-compliant coverage by (i) populating the deep-sea and offshore areas with previously disregarded geomorphic-based habitat classes and by (ii) adding information for EUNIS classes A1, A2, X1 and X2/X3. The coverage of EUNIS seabed habitats available is in this manner doubled in comparison to EMODNET. More than 90% of the EU waters are detailed down to EUNIS level 2 and 3 and a small part down to level 5. The mapped extents of several habitats should still be considered geographically biased and underestimated in relation to their actual extent. This should be resolved upon completion of EMODNET's Seabed Habitats harmonized coverage, which is currently addressing the eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, part of Macaronesia and part of the Celtic Seas.


jrc-emis (at)


  • Pascal Derycke

How to cite

Derycke, Pascal (2016): EMIS - EUNIS Broadscale Seabed Habitats of the Northeast Atlantic and Adjacent Seas. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID:


coastal environment seabed habitas EEA EIONET Ecosystem Map EUNIS marine environment seafloor marine monitoring UNEP/GRIDA Global Seafloor Geomorphic Features Map

Data access

EMIS Marine Maps - WFS
  • Web Feature Service (WFS) - GetCapabilities

EMIS Marine Maps Platform (SDI)
  • The dataset is available for download as zipped shapefile, png, Excel file,...

EMIS Marine Maps - WMS
  • Web Map Service (WMS) - GetMap

EMIS Marine Maps - GIS viewer
  • EMIS Marine Maps: The Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for EMIS is proposed as a marine maps platform to support the assessment and the monitoring of the environmental state and marine biodiversity of the European regional seas.

Spatial coverage

Type Value
<gml:Envelope srsName=""><gml:lowerCorner>-42 25</gml:lowerCorner><gml:upperCorner>36 66</gml:upperCorner></gml:Envelope>
POLYGON((-42 66,36 66,36 25,-42 25,-42 66))

Temporal coverage

From date To date
2014-04-01 N/A

Lineage information

This geospatial dataset serves for information purposes only and should not be considered as officially representing marine borders in accordance with international law. This dataset was produced by Fernando Tempera at the European Commission Joint Research Center (JRC) in preparation of a seabed-related Marine Ecosystem Services mapping exercise conducted in the scope of the SEACOAST Action (ID: 1081). It was created using geospatial information sourced from the EMODNET Seabed Habitats portal, the UNEP/GRIDA Global Seafloor Geomorphic Features Map and the EEA EIONET Ecosystem Map (v2.1). Seabed habitats classes follow the EUNIS classification system (version 2007-11), including both intertidal and permanently-submerged habitats. For more details about the methodology see Tempera, F. (2015). Bringing together harmonized EUNIS seabed habitat geospatial information for the European Seas. EUR 27237. Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Publications Office of the European Union. JRC95611. doi:10.2788/118489 (

Additional information

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European Commission, Joint Research Centre
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