Appendix - Characterisation of the biotope

A thorough baseline survey should be carried out particularly where existing information is scarce. In intertidal areas ACE studies will be useful in characterising the biotopes particularly in large areas where time and cost considerations may preclude a full quantitative survey. However localised core samples should also be taken at representative sites usually on transects down the shore to give a more detailed representation of the community and allow statistical analysis of the areas SACs and determine levels of change. Bird surveys (WeBS counts) may also be necessary in some areas. Subtidally grab samples in the habitats defined by acoustic survey or by reference to bathymetric charts. Towed or remote operated video and epibenthic tows may also be employed where appropriate.

The high costs and labour intensive nature of remote sampling (and video work) should be taken into account and the number of samples and replicates taken will reflect this. Information from existing data, remote sensing, acoustic surveys, bathymetric charts will be useful to determine the location of monitoring sites and a stratified random sampling strategy for quantitative sampling of the fauna will usually be employed on the basis of this information. It may be necessary to store some samples to reduce laboratory analysis which can be examined at a later date if necessary. A full account of survey design for remote sampling is given in Hiscock (1998a), Baker & Wolff (1987), Holmes & McIntyre (1984) and Rees et al (1990).

It is recommended that sediment samples should be taken at all sites for particle size analysis, other parameters such as organic content, redox potential etc is also recommended and in specific cases other information such as measurements of hydrocarbons, trace metals etc may also be necessary. Where possible the biological communities should be classified according to the MNCR biotope classification system although it is understood that the MNCR system is not complete particularly in subtidal sediments. Multivariate analysis of the data with techniques such as MDS, TWINSPAN etc will also be useful in classifying communities and relating them to the environmental conditions. Input of data into GIS systems is also encouraged.