Independent Expert Review of the Scientific Case for the Proposal to Designate the Sound of Barra as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Scottish Ministers approved the scientific case for a public consultation in August 2011. Following receipt of the consultation report and final advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in October 2012 this report was commissioned. The aim was to provi

Annex 1 - Statements on maerl habitat species diversity provided by SNH

1) p20 (Section 3.1.1), 7th para - One sample contained infauna which was abundant and species rich with a composition distinct from that of all other samples (my assessment indicates that this sample is SA42 as the only infaunal sample listed in Table 3.1.1 with the SS.SMp.Mrl.Pcal biotope).

2)P22 (Section 3.1.2), Table3.1.1 - SA42 (assigned biotope SS.SMp.Mrl.Pcal) contained 55 species and an abundance of 257.

3)P46 (Section 3.4.1), 1st para - Station V32 was a repeat survey from 2001. In 2006 the station was a maerl bed with profuse cover of foliose and filamentous red algae (although there is no infaunal sample associated with this site to distinguish whether it supports a diverse group of species within the maerl bed).

4)P66 (Section 4.2.1), Figure 4.2.3 and associated text on p65-66 - Reference to biotopes assigned to live and non-living maerl and that these substrates were well developed in the eastern parts of the sound.

5)P88 (Section 4.3.2), Class 8 and p89 (Figure 4.3.3) - Although not directly supporting the statement this information provides an explanation as to the difficulty of classifying the acoustic signal from the maerl biotopes. Figure 4.3.3 (p89) represents how much maerl biotope was possible to map from the 2006 data on the basis of the integrated biotope classification and ground-truth data points.

6)P96 (Section 5.1), 1st para and p97 (Section 5.1, Figure 5.1.2) - The figure shows minimum live maerl abundance estimated from drop-down video footage. The report states that the shallower beds between Fuday and Lingay support maerlinfauna "of a distinct community composition and included a large number of species."

7)P159 (Section 7.2, Appendix 2), SS.SMp.Mrl.Pcal and SS.SMp.Mrl.Pcal.R - 25 stations were assigned with these biotopes (although we only have information about infaunal diversity at one of these stations).


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