Following an extensive bottom animal (zoobenthos) sampling expedition in early summer 2000, nine different faunal assemblages (communities) have been identified in the sublittoral offshore waters from the North of the
to the inner parts of the
). The characteristics of these communities are presented, and their specific values for protection measures are indicated. Special attention is given to complex biotope areas where rare species and rich mosaics of communities occur. Since many of these areas fulfil the ecological criteria for
habitats of the European Habitats Directive, they have been proposed for site protection (see figure 1 in chapter 4).