This Special Area of Conservation subtidal rock condition assessment survey was carried out as part of a 6 year assessment programme.
The project delivered the following outputs:
- A freshwater lens camera system was used which resulted in the data acquired being of a high enough quality to identify fauna to a good taxonomic level.
- 39 transects were surveyed with the drop-down camera and the images analysed and used in conjunction with previous geophysical datasets to map the different biotopes and identify the areas of potential reef habitat.
- Stony reef was estimated to cover a total of 4.752 km2 within the site (equivalent to approximately 52 % of the total area surveyed)
- A total of six biotopes / biotope complexes were identified associated with the cobble and boulder reef. The epifauna was dominated by the non-native, cryptogenic colonial ascidian Molgula manhattensis.
- A preliminary assessment was made of condition for the Annex I reef communities observed
- Recommendations for future monitoring were provided.
This study has significantly improved our understanding of the reef feature within the site, which will benefit our casework and the development of our conservation advice .