Marine Ecological Assessment

Marine Ecological Assessment

Ecospan Environmental Ltd provides a highly experienced multi-disciplinary team that delivers efficient, cost effective and scientifically robust marine ecological assessment services. Sectors include utilities, manufacturing, oil and chemical, construction, port operations and regulators.Over the past 30 years we have worked in most areas of the UK undertaking surveys ranging from biotope mapping and protected habitat surveys, to detailed environmental impact assessments of effluent discharges and spills. As a team we specialise in marine and estuarine surveys, specifically in near shore and inter-tidal habitats.

Marine-Ecol-Merged-SideOur services include specialist consultancy, survey design, marine ecological survey fieldwork, laboratory analysis of contaminants or benthic macrofauna, data analysis/interpretation and reporting. Such assessments are often multifaceted and in many cases (e.g. dredging impact assessments) involve hydrographic surveys, hydrodynamic modelling (e.g. plume dispersion modelling), contaminant assessment (sediment, water or biota) as well as ecological monitoring (e.g. inter-tidal or sub-tidal benthic flora and/or fauna surveys).

To facilitate these marine ecological surveys we have a large array of specialist equipment including a four man hovercraft, 3 boats and a wide variety of dedicated scientific instrumentation. We own a range of sediment grabs and corers for sampling benthic macrofauna and contaminants as well as water sampling equipment and HD drop down/towed video equipment.

Marine ecological surveys are an integral part of many projects including:

  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Planning of coastal developments or port improvements
  • Dredging impact assessments
  • Environmental Statement production
  • Marine Licencing applications (formerly FEPA)
  • Assessment of Ecological Status according to the Water Framework and Habitats Directives
  • Site Condition Monitoring
  • Assessment of the effects of operations and incidents
  • Environmental permitting (formerly IPPC.)

Our team of qualified Marine Biologists is able to offer a wide variety of marine ecological surveys and supporting techniques including:

  • Phase I and Phase II Habitat Surveys
  • Biotope Mapping and Reporting.
  • Subtidal surveys:
    • Benthic Sampling ( macrobenthos and epibenthos)
    • Diving Surveys
    • Drop down and towed video
  • Inter-tidal surveys including rocky shore, mudflats and sandflats
  • Benthic Macrofauna Analysis
  • Protected species/habitat assessments
  • Seagrass surveys
  • Macroalgae surveys
  • Saltmarsh surveys
  • Fish surveys
  • Water and sediment sampling
  • Plankton sampling
  • Research experiments
  • Particle size analysis

Data handling, statistical analysis, interpretation and reporting
Typically, the data obtained from the surveys and associated physio-chemical and biological analyses are collated prior to statistical analysis using both uni-variate and multi-variate (PRIMER) statistical techniques. The results are fully interpreted and the implications of the findings discussed in relation to the aims of the survey and the project as a whole. For many applications (such as site condition monitoring, phase 1 ecological assessments and biotope surveys), the results are also often displayed using GIS.

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