Report 336
Review of current and historical seabed biological time-series studies in the UK and near Europe
(2003)
Hiscock, K. and Kimmance, S.
Report issued 10 March 2003
Ninety-two seabed biological surveys that include time-series data have been identified, reports and papers inspected, relevant persons questioned and a description of each study entered to a Microsoft® Access database

Executive Summary

 
Ninety-two seabed biological surveys that include time-series data have been identified, reports and papers inspected, relevant persons questioned and a description of each study entered to a Microsoft® Access database.
 
All of the 92 datasets reviewed and detailed in the database include some information that is useful in interpreting temporal change and 36 datasets that include(d) data collected in a systematic manner over many years are identified that could form a part of a network of surveillance sites in the UK.
 
Many data sets indicate a high degree of constancy in the biotopes and species present at a location against a background of change in some component species. That change is often not synchronous between sites that are similar in character, making identification of 'reference' sites where natural change can be compared against change due to human activities difficult.
 
A further series of studies identified in the text but not generally included in the database are resurveys of locations sampled more than 50 years ago. Some of these surveys reveal changes most likely brought about by fishing and eutrophication.

Several datasets from single surveys are identified that might be repeated to indicate long-term change.
Many of the surveys undertaken to study effects of perturbation, usually pollution, provide information that is useful in identifying potential indicator species. Such information is needed to support work being undertaken towards implementation of the Water Framework Directive.
 
Where change has been described and interpreted, a short summary is included in the notes in the database. More work is required to catalogue those interpretations and to make them widely available.
The evidence collected suggests that some time-series studies may need to be undertaken over a period of fifty years or more if some natural fluctuations are to be identified.
 
It is inevitable that existing time-series studies will not provide the full network of sites that might be appropriate to monitoring change and obtaining contextual information to interpret change in SACs etc.
The authors are aware that the survey of time-series studies is not complete and encourage the continued input of information to the database.

 
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ISSN 0963 8091
 
Please cite as: Hiscock, K. and Kimmance, S., (2003), Review of current and historical seabed biological time-series studies in the UK and near Europe, Report issued 10 March 2003, JNCC Report 336, ISSN 0963 8091