Marine Nature Conservation Review (MNCR) and associated benthic marine data held and managed by JNCC
This dataset includes the survey data that were collected during the Marine Nature Conservation Review (MNCR) between 1987 and 1998, together with data from surveys commissioned by the Nature Conservancy Council in the 1970s and 1980s and data collected subsequently by JNCC. The MNCR was initiated to provide a comprehensive baseline of information on marine habitats and their associated species around the coast of Britain which would aid coastal zone and sea-use management and to contribute to the identification of areas of marine natural heritage importance. The focus of MNCR work was on benthic habitats (often referred to as 'biotopes') in intertidal and inshore (typically within 3nm) subtidal areas.
This dataset relates to Great Britain. Note that other equivalent datasets exist which include data which JNCC are not responsible for. These have additional coverage for Great Britain and equivalent data for Ireland.
The main purpose of the MNCR programme was to advance the basic knowledge of the near shore benthos. This included:
- identifying sites and species of nature conservation importance.
- extend our knowledge of benthic marine habitats, communities and species in Great Britain, particularly through description of their characteristics, distribution and extent.
- provide information through the data collected to support more general measures required to minimize adverse effects of development.
The data have been extensively checked during the course of the creation of the various reports produced by the MNCR programme. This included the MNCR Area Summary report series which describes the marine habitats in particular regions around the UK and the creation of the national marine habitat (biotope) classification system. Through this work the vast majority of the anomalies and errors in the data should have been identified but owing to the size of the dataset some may still remain.
The majority of data were collected using methods described in the MNCR Rationale and Methods report (Hiscock 1996). Broadly, this encompassed surveying a range of sites within a geographical area to sample and describe the variety of habitats present (sampling habitats in different substrata, depths, wave exposures, current regimes, salinity regimes and so on). Each habitat was sampled using semi-quantitative recording techniques (SACFOR abundance scales) for recording epibiota on rocky habitats.
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