Marine Ecological Surveys to Examine Seabed of Three UK Regions

Marine Ecological Surveys Ltd (MESL) has been appointed to undertake regional seabed monitoring, consisting of over 2,500 samples, on behalf of eight marine aggregate operators with licensed interests in the southern North Sea through a contract being coordinated by the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association (BMAPA). 

Marine Ecological Surveys to Examine Seabed of Three UK Regions

MESL were identified as the preferred consultancy to collect, process and identify samples from three of five regional projects; The Humber, Thames and Anglian regions. The samples will be collected in order to obtain a baseline dataset that will be used to deliver monitoring conditions for marine licences via the new Regional Seabed Monitoring Plan developed by CEFAS through a project funded by Defra, the Marine Management Organisation, The Crown Estate and the marine aggregate industry. The Humber area presents the largest sampling array of all five of the projects, involving the acquisition and analysis of over 1,000 samples.

The awarding of these contracts builds on MESL’s experience of major regional projects including the East Anglian Offshore Wind Farm Benthic Characterisation, one of the largest benthic surveys carried out in UK waters, and the Humber Regional Environmental Characterisation Survey (MALSF). The consistent delivery of regional scale projects identifies MESL as the marine ecological survey company of choice for large scale projects.

MESL’s team of highly qualified and experienced marine biologists, practiced in benthic ecology, will obtain sediment samples using an in-house 0.1m2 hamon grab. The samples will then be sieved in-situ and preserved ready for analysis back at the MESL offices in Bath.

MESL will analyse the samples in our fully comprehensive benthic laboratory equipped with high quality instruments including Zeiss stereo microscopes and Zeiss and Leitz compound microscopes, Ohaus analytical balances and a Pax-cam microscope camera. The laboratory is a leading participant in the National Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) scheme which ensures MESL deliver industry leading services.

Press release, August 22, 2014; Image: MESL