Natural subtidal hard substrate communities are vulnerable and fragile biotopes. Their spatiotemporal characterization should thus focus on non- and/or minimally invasive sampling gears, providing comprehensive and representative data. Besides employing classical sampling gears (i.e. grabs and trawls), MARECO is developing expertise in underwater imagery, such as in the framework of the inherent MSFD monitoring program, testing approaches of drop-frame imaging systems. Underwater imagery takes us a step further compared to the inherent limitations posed by conventional sampling gears, providing access to spatially representative information, and revealing dynamic processes that are key for a refined understanding of these communities at spatial scales satisfying environmental management.