UKSeaMap 2006 - The mapping of marine seabed landscapes and water column features of UK seas


UKSeaMap 2006
The UKSeaMap 2006 project followed on from the Irish Sea Pilot study (ISP), which tested a regional seas approach to marine conservation management (Vincent et al. 2004).  Part of the ISP investigated the concept of 'marine landscapes' (coastal, seabed and water column) and their ecological relevance (Golding et al. 2004).  For the ISP, seabed and coastal marine landscapes were derived by integrating a number of geophysical attributes including bathymetry, seabed sediments, bedforms, maximum near-bed stress and other data, whilst the water column marine landscapes were based on two 'model derived', raster datasets for salinity and stratification (both supplied by Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory). The ecological relevance of the derived marine landscape units was tested by assessing the correlation with different biological communities, determining the degree to which a particular landscape could be used as a surrogate for biological communities. In general the Irish Sea marine landscapes were found to be ecologically valid.
Based on this successful 'proof of concept' in the Irish Sea, this approach was adapted and extended to produce maps of seabed landscapes (Figure 1) and seasonal water column features (Figure 2) for the rest of UK waters.
The outputs provided fundamental spatial information layers to support more effective management of marine resources and supported the implementation of existing international commitments and targets. The UKSeaMap 2006 report, UKSeaMap: The mapping of seabed and water column features of UK seas, is available online. The marine landscapes map can be viewed and downloaded from the MESH webGIS.
UKSeaMap was updated in 2010 using updated methods and data layers. UKSeaMap 2010 provides a map of predicted EUNIS habitats rather than marine landscapes.
Funding partners and members of the Project Steering Group, as well as the JNCC, were Defra, Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (now Department for Communities and Local Government), Department of Trade and Industry (now Department for Energy and Climate Change), Crown Estate, Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales), Natural England (formally English Nature), WWF-UK, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The project has also received European Regional Development Funding through the INTERREG III B Community Initiative, as part of the Mapping European Seabed Habitats project.




Connor, D. W., Gilliand, P.M., Golding, N., Robinson, P., Todd, D. & Verling E. UKSeaMap: the mapping of seabed and water column features of UK seas. Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough . Available online at:
Golding, N., Vincent, M.A. & Connor, D.W.  2004.  Irish Sea Pilot - Report on the development of a Marine Landscape classification for the Irish Sea.  Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Available online at:
Vincent, M.A.  Atkins, S.M, Lumb, Golding, N., Lieberknecht, L.M., & Webster, M., 2004.  Marine nature conservation and sustainable development – the Irish SeaPilot.  Report to Defra by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
ukseamap project partners