Recovery rates of UK seabed habitats after cessation of aggregate extraction

  • Published source details Foden J., Rogers S. & Jones A. (2009) Recovery rates of UK seabed habitats after cessation of aggregate extraction. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 390, 15-26


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit aggregate extraction

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit aggregate extraction

    A site comparison study in 2001–2011 of three sites in one area of sandy seabed off the southeast coast of England, North Sea, UK (Foden et al. 2009) found that, 15 years after ceasing aggregate extraction and letting the seabed recover naturally, invertebrate community composition, species richness, abundance and biomass were similar to that of adjacent sites where extraction did not occur. Although still different after five years, invertebrate community composition at the extraction site became more similar to that of the non-extraction sites over time and was undistinguishable after 15 years (data presented as graphical analyses and statistical model results). After 15 years, extraction and non-extraction sites had similar invertebrate species richness (55 vs 62), abundance (171 vs 183 individuals/0.1 m2), and biomass (0.6 vs 0.7 g/0.1 m2). In 2011, ten samples were collected using a sediment grab (0.1 m2) at a site where intense aggregate extraction had ceased in 1997, and five at each of two adjacent non-extracted sites, all at 27–35 m depths. Invertebrates (1 mm) were identified, weighed, and counted. Data were combined with prior surveys undertaken using the same sampling design in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson)

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