Report 588
Community Analysis of Offshore MCZ Grab and Video Data (2014)
Chris Allen, Magnus Axelsson & Steven Dewey
The aim of this project was to examine enumerated faunal data using various multivariate statistical techniques to elucidate the underlying faunal communities present within each Marine Conservation Zone. The assessments made on the faunal communities were then used to inform assignment of biotopes, summarising the communities and habitats present.



The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 allows for the creation of a type of Marine Protected Area (MPA), called a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ). MCZs are intended to be established to provide protection to a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology, and can be designated anywhere in English and Welsh inshore and UK offshore waters. Government policy dictates that establishment of MCZs should be based on the “best available evidence”. The Marine Conservation Zone Project has identified a number of potential MCZs in English inshore and English, Welsh and Northern Irish offshore waters. A number of surveys have been undertaken to gather evidence on the composition of seabed habitats and communities within MCZ areas.

Seastar Survey Ltd. was contracted by JNCC in financial year 2013/14 to undertake statistical analysis on benthic community data collected from several offshore MCZs. The results of these analyses were then used to assign biotopes to the survey data based on both the Marine Habitat Classification for Britain and Ireland (Connor et al 2004) and EUNIS classification scheme. Data were supplied as faunal abundance counts from both benthic grab samples and from video footage and still images. Various different methodologies were used to rationalise data sets before undertaking multivariate statistical analyses using the PRIMER software package.

ISSN 0963-8901
Please cite as: Chris Allen, Magnus Axelsson & Steven Dewey, (2016), Community Analysis of Offshore MCZ Grab and Video Data (2014), JNCC Report 588, ISSN 0963-8901