The aim of this project was to undertake a trial to assess the feasibility and value of developing a cost-effective and practical methodology based around biomarkers to assist in condition assessment of marine SACs.
Biomarkers were deployed at two marine SACs in the South West of England. These were the Fal & Helford SAC and Plymouth Sound & Estuaries SAC. Within each SAC, sampling sites were chosen in relation to the site’s interest features and known chemical contamination.A suite of biomarkers were tested on samples of Carcinus maenas (Common shore crab) and Mytilus edulis (Common mussel), as these were invertebrate animals endemic to each SAC site. Results from individual biomarker responses were assessed to identify spatial patterns within each site. Results from the full suite of biomarkers were integrated and ranked to provide an overall quality biomarkers classification.