Report 532
Analysis of video and still images to characterise habitats and macrobenthos of the Wyville Thomson Ridge SCI and Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt Scottish Nature Conservation MPA Proposal (1512S)
(2014)
Morris. L., Stamp. T. & Goudge. H.
The Wyville Thomson Ridge is a rock ridge at the northern end of Rockall Trough rising from over 1000 metres at its deepest point to 400 metres at the summit. Along the ridge there are large areas of stony reef, thought to have been formed by the ploughing movement of icebergs through the seabed at the end of the last ice age. Bedrock reef is present on the flanks of the ridge and, due to the differences in water masses, there are different species compositions on either side. These reef communities support sea urchins, sea spiders, sea cucumbers and a range of colourful sponges and soft corals (JNCC, 2010). As part of the Scottish Marine Protected Area (SMPA) Project, areas of search near the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt were also investigated during the survey (URL1:JNCC 2013. Scottish MPA Project). A background to the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt can be found in Bett (2003). The Scottish Nature Conservation MPA proposal part of the survey aims to provide advice to Scottish Ministers on the selection of MPAs under the Marine (Scotland) Act and the Marine and Coastal Access Act in the seas around Scotland. Marine Scotland is leading the Scottish MPA Project, Scottish National Heritage (SNH) is leading on advice concerning Nature Conservation MPAs within Scottish territorial waters and JNCC is leading on advice concerning Nature Conservation MPAs in offshore waters adjacent to Scotland.
 

Introduction

 
The survey was undertaken by JNCC and Marine Scotland Science on FRV Scotia in the area West of Shetland in October and November 2012. Biological data were collected using Hamon grab, rock dredge and camera drop-frame, with video and stills cameras, in order to develop an understanding of habitat distribution within the site and to facilitate SCI site management discussions.  The survey also gathered additional data from nearby Scottish Nature Conservation MPA Proposal search locations for deep-sea sponge aggregations in the Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt. Survey areas are displayed in Figure 1 of the report. The current report only presents findings of the seabed imagery aspect of the biological data.
 
 
ISSN 0963 8091
 
Please cite as: Morris. L., Stamp. T. & Goudge. H., (2014), Analysis of video and still images to characterise habitats and macrobenthos of the Wyville Thomson Ridge SCI and Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt Scottish Nature Conservation MPA Proposal (1512S), JNCC Report 532, ISSN 0963 8091