Norway has a very large marine nature diversity, comprising contrasting landscapes ranging from the deep sea mountain chains in the mid-Atlantic to the skerrygaard and fjords of the coastal zone. Within the landscapes there are many different habitats. Habitats are areas with a characteristic environment inhabited by characteristic species. The habitat for a community of species are called biotopes. Some of these are characterised by fragile habitat forming species (vulnerable biotopes), others by an assemblage of species of various types (general biotopes).

In order to provide the knowledge basis for ecosystem based management of this high biological diversity, it is necessary to divide the nature into units in a systematic manner. MAREANO provides such knowledge by producing biotope maps, and other maps developed according to the national standard Nature in Norway (NiN). More information about each product type is given in the relevant sub-sections.

  • General Biotopes - Regions with similar communities of animals living on the seabed, in a similar physical environment.
  • Vulnerable biotopes - Regions with frequent occurrence of certain fragile, large and longlived species of sponges and corals in a similar physical environment.
  • Nature in Norway (NiN) - NiN is a descriptive and typification system for describing Norwegian nature across terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. The first version of NiN was published in 2009 and an updated version 2.0 was published in 2015. The development of NiN is a project coordinated by the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre (Artsdatabanken) and led by Professor Rune Halvorsen at the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo. MAREANO currently produces landscape (geomorphological) maps that comply with NiN, and work is ongoing NiN to take theory into practice at the Nature System (habitat) level.

Cold-water coral reefs are one example of a vulnerable biotope with important ecosystem functions. The reefssupport great diversity of associated species and provide feeding grounds for commercially important fish.