The date today is 10-12-10

Marine wildlife survey–Loch Sween

Nov 14th, 2010 | By editor | Category: Other Organisations

Survey work in Loch Sween got underway this week to confirm the presence of some of Scotland’s most important marine wildlife features.

The aim of the survey is to update existing knowledge about habitats and species of high conservation importance, known as priority marine features. Previous surveys have revealed the presence of several such features in the loch including native oysters, seagrass and maerl beds and burrowed mud communities with sea pens.

The survey will be carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in collaboration with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), as an extension to the routine sampling regularly undertaken in the loch. Marine biologists from SEPA will use a drop-down video camera to capture undersea footage and take "grab" samples from the seabed.

The Loch Sween survey is one of a series taking place in Scotland’s seas in 2010 as part of the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) Project, a joint initiative between Marine Scotland, Historic Scotland, SNH and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

Other areas that have been surveyed in 2010 include the Ullapool Approaches, the Sound of Canna and the Firth of Clyde, which current data suggest are also home to many priority marine features, including flame shell beds, fan mussels and fireworks anemones.

Ben James, SNH’s project manager for the Loch Sween survey, added: "These surveys are significantly improving our understanding of the distribution and extent of species and habitats that are particularly important to the diverse ecosystems found in Scottish waters.

"This new information will be very useful in our advisory role, helping us provide up-to-date information on the status and distribution of Scotland’s priority marine features."

The survey work is expected to be completed by the end of November with the final report of the findings published next spring.

Related posts:

  1. Scottish MPA project surveys
  2. SNH – Priority Marine Features
  3. Shetland Marine Spatial Plan
  4. Census of marine life
  5. Marine Bill receives Royal Assent

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