This paper reports on observations made during wreck dive expeditions in 2010-2012, in order to investigate the ecological relevance of shipwrecks on the Dutch Continental Shelf (dcs). Shipwrecks are biodiversity hotspots. The number of species recorded on shipwrecks is similar to the number of species found in soft bottoms of the entire dcs. The soft substrates, however, represent a vastly larger habitat on the dcs than the shipwrecks. Amongst many other taxa, juvenile and large Atlantic cod, linear skeleton shrimp, goldsinny wrasses and leopard spotted gobies were found in the shipwreck habitats. The presence of these important species and their absence from many other habitats, illustrate that shipwrecks function as key habitats, nurseries, and refugia that are rare or absent anywhere else in the Netherlands.

, ,
Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen

Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License

Naturalis journals & series

Lengkeek, W., Coolen, J. W. P., Gittenberger, A., & Schrieken, N. (2013). Ecological relevance of shipwrecks in the North Sea. Nederlandse Faunistische Mededelingen, 41, 49–57.