A wide range of habitats in coastal areas of Northern Ireland are monitored. These include:
Sand dunes systems
For example at the mouth of the Bann estuary and at Magilligan where there are also well developed dune wetland habitats, Murlough dunes in Dundrum Bay.
These are important for colonies of nesting seabirds, such as guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake and puffin, particularly around the coast of Rathlin Island.
Vegetated shingle occurs at the upper end of the shore around the coast, especially around the Mournes Coast and Rathlin Island.
Saltmarsh is associated with mudflats in our major estuaries and sea loughs such as at Mill Bay in Carlingford Lough, the Comber Estuary in Strangford Lough, Ballycarry in Larne Lough, and at the Roe.
These are important for many bird species, some of which travel long distances to overwinter on the wide areas of intertidal muds and sands on our shores. Estuaries are also important for many migratory fish.
Estuary in Lough Foyle is a rare habitat in Northern Ireland and, in the wider context of Europe, it is a high priority for nature conservation.