A large-scale database concerning benthic copepods from the Arctic, Baltic Sea, North Sea, British Isles, Adriatic Sea and Crete was compiled to assess species richness, biodiversity, communities, ecological range size and biogeographical patterns. The Adriatic showed the highest evenness and the most species-rich communities. Assemblages from the North Sea, British Isles, Baltic and Crete had a lower evenness. The British Isles were characterised by impoverished communities. The ecological specificity of copepod species showed two diverging trends: higher specificity of species in more diverse assemblages was observed in the Adriatic, North Sea and Baltic. A uniformly high species specificity disregarding sample diversity was found on Crete and in the British Isles. Benthic copepod communities showed distinct patterns that clearly fit the predefined geographical regions. Communities were distinguishable and ß-diversity was found to be high around Europe, indicating a high species turnover on the scale of this investigation. The British Isles and the North Sea were found to be faunistic links to the Baltic and the Arctic.