Habitat Mapping

In order to fully understand the ecosystems present within the Berwickshire Marine
Reserve, we need to know the habitat types that are present on the seabed, and the marine life they support.

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In 2018, with help from St Andrews University and Blue Marine Foundation, we completed a huge underwater survey using the latest technologies and equipment, including multibeam and sidescan sonar systems. The results from this survey allowed us to create a ‘Digital Baseline’ of the seabed and detailed the habitat types as well as depth profiles.

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To ensure the data that had been collected using these methods was accurate, remotely operated vessels (ROVs) equipped with cameras were lowered to the ocean floor at carefully calculated locations. A sample of the sediment at that location was also retrieved by the ROVs, and together with the video footage and sonar data we could build up a very accurate picture of the seabed.

The Digital Baseline survey of the seabed is an invaluable piece of work, as we now have a foundation on which we can develop scientific monitoring and management projects. By recording species sightings, divers have already begun to build on the Digital Baseline, adding further detail to the types of plants and animals found at specific locations.

To bring this model to life, we have created a 3D digital representation of the Reserve, bringing the underwater world to your own living room.