Report 433
Biological data interpretation of the Reef East of Shetland Isles Area of Search
Foster-Smith, R., Benson, A. & Foster-Smith, J
The purpose of the contract was to delineate the extent of Annex I reef within the Reef East of Shetland Isles Area of Search (Figure 1) and to characterise the biological communities at the site. This was to enable the JNCC to assess this Area of Search against site selection criteria in order to judge whether it could contribute to the Natura network as an offshore Special Area for Conservation (SAC).



The available data provided with the contract and previously reviewed by British Geological Survey (BGS) was studied and this indicated that further analysis might refine the nature and extent of reef features. No additional data were available from other possible data providers.  The video and stills were analysed and the sediment characteristics and species recorded entered into a spreadsheet. The relevant fields were then entered into Marine Recorder.  Attempts were made to record as systematically as possible and a trigon was devised that was suitable for recording rocky reef substrata.  The video was split into clips representing distinct habitats and the clips were the main focus for the habitat descriptions. Stills were sub-sampled where necessary and the data recorded. The data from the stills contributed to the description of the video clips. The records were analysed and matched to biotope classes.


The range of biotopes was small and only three rocky biotopes were identified: (1) Faunal and algal crusts on exposed to moderately wave-exposed circalittoral rock (CR.MCR.EcCr.FaAlCr), (2) Phakellia ventilabrum and Axinellid sponges on deep, wave-exposed circalittoral rock (CR.HCR.DpSp.PhaAxi) and (3) Caryophyllia smithii, sponges and crustose communities on wave-exposed circalittoral rock (CR.MCR.EcCr.CarSp).


You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this document.
ISSN 0963 8091
Please cite as: Foster-Smith, R., Benson, A. & Foster-Smith, J, (2009), Biological data interpretation of the Reef East of Shetland Isles Area of Search, JNCC Report 433, ISSN 0963 8091