The seas off Germany’s coasts are under pressure from human induced pollution and, increasingly, from direct human activities in the area – notably fisheries, resource exploration and extraction, and the erection of offshore installations such as wind farms. Furthermore, the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on marine ecosystems are already apparent. In 2004, eight marine protected areas covering a total of more than 10,000 km² were designated in the German Exclusive Economic Zones of the North and Baltic Seas as a contribution to the Natura 2000 network of protected areas under the European Union’s Habitats Directive. However, the statutory protection afforded by such designation does not suffice by itself. In response to this challenge, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) is now preparing comprehensive management plans for the protected areas that take all relevant human pressures into account.The purpose of this book is to provide a scientific foundation for the management plans and to compile the information available on each protected marine species and habitat type. Individual profiles for each conservation feature set out their key biological and ecological characteristics and their distribution and stocks in German territory. Each profile then goes on to identify the specific sensitivities of the features to human activities in marine areas and the anticipated impacts of climate change.The book assembles the available body of knowledge, making it accessible for practical purposes. With its comprehensive but clearly structured approach, the volume gives experts – and the public – a manual e.g. for conducting assessments within project approval procedures and developing conservation measures in marine areas.