Marine Biodiversity Monitoring and Surveillance


There are multiple UK and European policy drivers for biodiversity monitoring, such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the EU Habitats Directive amongst others.  Some drivers explicitly require monitoring programmes to be developed, for other drivers the requirement for monitoring is implicit in the need to assess and report on the changing status of marine biodiversity, and to manage human activities to minimise impacts on biodiversity.


For all these drivers, improved evidence on the state of marine biodiversity, and focussed research into whether and how the biodiversity elements are changing in response to both natural and human induced pressures, are vital.


As part of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy JNCC lead in developing a coordinated UK Marine Biodiversity Monitoring R&D Programme, working with the country nature conservation agencies and UKMMAS partners.  The Programme spans UK territorial and offshore waters, and includes monitoring for all biodiversity elements both in the wider environment and within Marine Protected Areas.  Its aim is to develop options and refine methods for efficient, integrated monitoring of marine biodiversity to provide the evidence needed for all the policy drivers.


The JNCC-led elements of the work cover:

  1. Developing advice for Governments on monitoring options for seabirds, cetaceans, seabed habitats and marine protected areas;
  2. Working in collaboration with other partners to provide and improve evidence at a UK-wide scale for seabed habitats, seabirds and cetaceans, both within and outside MPAs;
  3. Coordination of the overall monitoring strategy and vision, working with partners who lead on providing advice on monitoring for seals, fish and pelagic habitats including plankton. 


The JNCC-led elements of the Marine Biodiversity Monitoring R&D Programme consist of: