Mapping the distribution of benthic biotopes in Falmouth Bay and lower Fal Ruan Estuary (ENRR119A)

In 1994, the BioMar Project completed a baseline survey of the lower Fal Ruan Estuary, Falmouth Bay and the east side of the Lizard peninsula to map the geographic distribution of the main biotopes. In particular, the survey aimed to map the distribution of living and dead maerl in the estuary and Falmouth Bay to provide data which could form a useful basis for decision making on the best approach to managing the living resource. These areas were surveyed using a RoxAnn acoustic system supported by direct observation of the seabed. Analysis of the data revealed 12 generic biotopes within the survey areas. Maps of bathymetry and the predicted distribution of biotopes were prepared using geographic information systems. Living maerl was most abundant in the Fal Ruan Estuary with only small fragments recorded from the other areas. Falmouth Bay was predominantly sedimentary with the sediment mainly dead maerl of maerl derivatives. Inshore habitats along the east side of the Lizard peninsula were mostly rock supporting kelp biotopes in shallow water and a rich faunal turf in deep water. Sea fans Eunicella Verrucosa were abundant in these deep rock habitats, particularly in the vicinity of the Manacles.

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ENRR119a, PDF, 25.5 MB 2014/05/13

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