Offshore Seabed Survey
Introduction and background to the Data and Interpretation
Group within the Marine Protected Sites team
The Data and Interpretation Group are responsible for sourcing
and providing data to support the offshore Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
selection process. This may be through commissioning new survey,
developing collaborative opportunities with other
organisations/agencies as well as undertaking 'data mining' within
Areas of Search for offshore SACs. In the longer term, the Data and
Interpretation Group will contribute to the flow of data and
information supporting the identification of Marine
Conservation Zones (MCZs)
and Scottish Marine Protected Areas
Objectives, Aims and Approaches
Once an Area of Search (AoS) has been delineated, data-mining
may be required to collate all existing information for that area.
This may originate from previous research or survey work.
Literature searches can also bring previous work to light and
provide information on the site in question. For some AoS, the data
mining phase may highlight sufficient data to assess the AoS
against published SAC selection criteria
If insufficient data is available, then collaborative or
commissioned survey is considered.
A variety of data types are usually acquired during survey
operations including both geomorphological and biological. Acoustic
techniques such as multibeam and sidescan that 'image' the seabed
provide information on seabed morphology and seabed type. Often
termed 'remote sensing', these techniques allow us to survey broad
swathes of the seabed relatively quickly. This 'remote sensing'
data, can then be groundtruthed using underwater video and stills
cameras and other types of sampling such as grabs.
All data collected on the survey is then analysed and
interpreted. In particular, the presence or absence of Annex I
habitat is ascertained, as well as the biological communities
living on the seabed. Data is archived according to MEDIN
and a report from the survey is
published within the JNCC Report Series.
Please contact us
if you have further questions on the
offshore survey programme or if you would like information on the
potential Annex I habitat shapefiles. These shapefiles are subject
to licencing agreements and therefore to obtain them you will need
to purchase licences for British Geological Survey UK Seabed
Sediments (DIG SBS 250K) and SeaZone Bathymetry data either in the
form of a SeaZone Hydrospaital or SeaZone Bathymetry Topic