Report 561
Methodological trials: Recording subtidal epibiota in situ and in photographs, Portrush August 2013 and Sound of Mull August 2014
(2015)
Moore, J., Bunker, F., van Rein, H. & Jones, J.
As consistency in recording has long been an issue with in situ monitoring of benthic communities the decision was taken to examine this issue within the JNCC dive team's programme of work.
 

Introduction

 
The Inter-Agency Marine Monitoring Group (IAMMG) discusses, co-ordinates and develops benthic habitat monitoring approaches within, and outside of, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Monitoring programmes based on in situ recording of epibenthic communities by diver surveyors have been developed in a number of MPAs. Consistency of recording has
long been an issue with such surveys, but the level of inconsistencies has been little studied.
 
Photo-monitoring techniques are also being developed and will have a number of advantages over in situ recording, but also some disadvantages. Previous studies have compared some of the advantages and disadvantages of the two recording techniques, but with limited focus on the consistency of recording.
 
When the JNCC dive team approached the IAMMG for project ideas for their 2013 work programme, it was suggested that a study of those techniques and issues would be useful. The DOE(NI) Marine Division invited the dive team to work on these monitoring issues with their team and Queens University, Belfast, based at Portrush, on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Fieldwork for the Portrush studies was carried out in August 2013. The results of those studies clarified a number of issues with recording consistency, but raised further questions and outlined limitations. JNCC
therefore decided to carry out further studies in 2014 and to use the study as an opportunity to focus on the recording of sponges, sponge morphologies and anthozoa, as those groups had been targeted for study by Defra’s Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG). Fieldwork for these studies was carried out in the Sound of Mull, on the west coast of Scotland, in August 2014.
 
 
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Available free from JNCC
A4, 153pp
ISSN 0963 8901
 
Please cite as: Moore, J., Bunker, F., van Rein, H. & Jones, J., (2015), Methodological trials: Recording subtidal epibiota in situ and in photographs, Portrush August 2013 and Sound of Mull August 2014, JNCC Report 561, A4, 153pp, ISSN 0963 8901