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Habitats and biotopes

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  • As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA7 an environmental survey was carried out from the SV Kommandor Jack. The aim of the survey was to acquire seabed samples for biological, physical and chemical analysis together with video and digital stills photography to ground truth the geophysical data and enable a general characterisation of seafloor habitats and community types present within the SEA7 area. The area sampled included Anton Dohrn Seamount, Rockall Bank, Hatton Bank, George Bligh Bank and Rosemary Bank. This report provides a log of the field sampling work undertaken for SEA7, in particular the biological, physical and chemical sampling.

  • As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) a seabed survey was carried out. The survey comprised photography and seabed sediment and water sampling. The purpose of these surveys was to shed light on the distribution and extent of methane-derived autigenic carbonate (MDAC) in the Irish Sea. 942 photographs are available. Cruise report is available.

  • As part of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1, sediment samples were collected from the area designated as the White Zone at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as part of its sea-going research activities during summer 2000. The objective of the cruise was to provide a description of the current state of the seabed in the survey area, while providing baseline environmental data and identifying larger-scale environmental patterns and processes. The survey programme was conducted from Charles Darwin between July and September 2000, with samples for a number of chemical and biological analyses being collected. An Excel file containing detail of species abundance is available.

  • This report presents all data relevant to the macrofaunal analysis from South Fladen Pockmark study area of the North Sea as part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA2 conducted in May (Phase I) and June 2001 (Phase II). The aim of the survey was to document the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of a range of offshore sandbanks and pockmarks (more than 12 km from the coast) to assess their current environmental status, variability and the relative importance of the fauna occurring within these habitats. Excel files of the data are also available.

  • As part of the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment for Area 6 (SEA6) an environmental survey was carried out from Kommandor Jack during October 2003. The aim of the survey was to acquire seabed and water samples for biological, physical and chemical analysis together with video and digital stills photography to ground-truth the geophysical data ans enable a general characterisation of seafloor habitats and community types present within a number of offshore areas containing pockmarks and shallow gas seeps within the Irish Sea. The areas surveyed were: St Georges Wall; Yuan's Pockmarks; Pisces Reef; Texel 11, Codlings Extension; Harvey's Trench; Texel 10. This report provides a log of the field sampling work undertaken.

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). It provides an overview of the various management plans which have been developed for the coastal zone, coastal defence, estuaries, biodiversity and coastal habitats in the SEA3 area of the North Sea. Numerous dynamic processes, both natural and man-made, affect the SEA3 coastline. After reviewing these processes, the report reviews the various coastal initiatives and management strategies which have been established to minimise their detrimental effects. Various coastal fora provide a lead in developing management strategies for the enhancement and protection of the environment in their areas. Plans include European marine site management schemes, shoreline management plans prepared by coastal defence authorities, estuary management plans, coastal habitat management plans and biodiversity action plans.

  • This report describes fieldwork operations of the North Sea Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA2) Survey, Leg 3 (crests survey) conducted for he Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) from R/V Vigilance between 14 and 22 June 2001. The survey objectives were to carry out quantitative seabed sampling and seabed photography in SEA2 Survey Area 1 (sand bank / wave study areas, off the Norfolk coast). The report contains a brief description of seabed appearance and epifauna. 82 samples were collected.

  • This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). The SEA 7 area, especially the Hebrides slope and areas of the Rockall Trough has been significant in the development of deep-sea biology since the 19th century. In recent decades intensive sampling has been undertaken by researchers from UK institutions such as the Scottish Association for Marine Science (formerly the Scottish Marine Biological Association) and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. The entire SEA 7 area is contained within the biogeographic region known as the Atlantic Deep-Sea Province, with the major oceanographic variables defined by the passage of North Atlantic Deep-Water. To the south, concentrated research efforts have taken place in areas such as the southern Rockall Trough, Porcupine Seabight and Porcupine Abyssal Plain. These encompass similar hydrographic and oceanic conditions to those of the SEA 7 area and form a basis for comparison. A brief overview of the history of deep-sea research in the SEA 7 area is provided here, along with a summary of the physical environment. In this report, however, the main focus is the ecology of seafloor-dwelling organisms. The ecology of benthic communities is described with respect to large-scale trends and is discussed in the context of how anthropogenic influences may affect the benthos.

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    The Marine Environment Monitoring and Assessment National database (MERMAN) is a national database which holds and provides access to data collected under the Clean Safe Seas Environmental Monitoring Programme (CSEMP) formerly the National Marine Monitoring Programme (NMMP). The data collected are the responsibility of the Competent Monitoring Authorities (CMAs) who collect the samples from stations in UK waters using water sampling techniques, trawls, nets or grabs. The CMAs then send the collected samples to accredited laboratories where they are analysed. A weighting is calculated, based on the quality of the analysis. The weighting score incorporates the laboratory accreditation, reference material, inter-laboratory comparisons, detection limits, uncertainties and standard deviations. Where data do not meet a threshold score they are given a status of ‘FAIL’ and although they are stored they are not made available to external users. The contaminants and biological effects in biota data start in 1987 with greater use of the database occurring from 1997 onwards. Data are submitted by the CMAs annually and an annual submission may include updates to legacy data to provide additional data or improve data/metadata. The data held in MERMAN fulfils the UK's mandatory monitoring requirements under the Oslo and Paris Convention (OSPAR) Joint Assessments and Monitoring Programme (JAMP). These data are used in support of European Commission (EC) directives and national assessments, such as Charting Progress 2 and are also supplied to the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODNET).

  • As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) 1999 Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1 (White Zone) Environmental Survey: Seabed survey of the deep-waters to the north and west of Scotland. The aims were to : Complete TOBI sidescan sonar survey of the "White Zone" begun on RRS Charles Darwin cruise 119C leg A; To carry out photographic surveys of the "White Zone" to ground truth the sidescan sonar imagery and provide an assessment of the seabed fauna; To carry out seabed sampling to further ground truth the sidescan sonar imagery and generate samples for the future analysis of selected environmental parameters (hydrocarbons, elements, particle size). 39 samples were collected. Raw TOBI Bathymetry - includes sidescan sonar, sub-bottom profiler and magnetometer data and Mosaiced TOBI sidescan imagery are available. The survey report is also available. The preliminary report describes the data collection and interpretation carried out by Southampton Oceanography Centre in the summer of 1999 on behalf of the DTI. The areas surveyed were in unlicensed parts of the UKCS NW of Scotland, and the purpose of the work was to obtain regional environmental information. The work was carried out in two survey legs, Leg A was a regional side-scan sonar survey, whilst leg B was a seafloor survey of targets selected from the results of leg 1. This report is presented in 4 sections: Section 1 - Cruise report for Leg A; Section 2 - Cruise report for Leg B; Section 3 - Regional environmental interpretation from side-scan sonar and camera data; Section 4 - Initial environmental assessment.