Friday, 5 April 2013

Efficient Marine Research Aids Marine Protection

Efficient marine research, utilizing specialist software, has helped to increase knowledge of the UK’s marine environment. Two articles published by CEFAS (, have increased understanding in terms of productivity levels and environmental status. Both of which can aid marine planning and inform compliance with EU legislation.

The first, presents estimates on the ‘Macrofaunal production along the UK continental shelf1. The study found that ‘...on average annelids contributed an overwhelming majority of the total production, with different regions varying in the relative contributions from other phyla such as molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms.’

The second, ‘SPI-ing on the seafloor: characterising benthic systems with traditional and in situ observations’2, utilized Sediment Profile Imagery (SPI) to obtain a clearer in situ understanding of the species and sediment relationship. Thereby negating issues of homogeneity, associated with traditional sampling methods. The study focused on two areas of the North Sea, Dogger Bank and Oyster Grounds, as they are representative of larger areas and some of the most intensively exploited marine areas across the globe.

In both cases the underlying research, have benefited from adopting the specialist software UNICORN. This facilitated data efficiently and ‘…aided standardization of the outputted abundance and biomass data..’1,2 at ‘…appropriate taxonomic levels for numerical analyses..’1.

A number of organisations already use UNICORN, including Government Agencies. More information can be found on our website (

2 /10.1007/s10533-012-9811-3

Photo - NASA Goddard Photo and Video (Flickr Account)

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