Biological survey of the intertidal sediments of the south shore of Solway Firth, 2014.
The ecological survey work was designed to monitor and assess the mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide (intertidal mudflats and sandflats) of the Solway Firth SAC to determine the extent of the infaunal communities as estimated from line transects (survey track files), species composition of characteristic biotopes, sediment characteristics (grain size, organic content, and depth of redox layer) along transects, and relationship to observed changes in biological community, associated biotope detail and spatial extent, and compare and contrast changes in extent and type of biological communities and sediment character within previous studies from the same area (biotope status and change). Based on a broad comparability in the extent of the coverage between the areas surveyed (2011 & 2014) it is concluded that there is no measurable decrease in the extent of the mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide feature and it is highly likely that the condition target has been met. The presence of species such as Arenicola and Macoma was relatively ubiquitous and biotopes characterised by these predominated across the survey area. Cerastoderma was recorded from both the 2011 and 2014 surveys, in generally the same locations but with insufficient densities to be considered a 'cockle bed' and ascribed a specific biotope.