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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA5) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). Macrofaunal analysis was carried out on sediment samples collected in the Moray Firth between September and October 2003.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). Twenty-one cetacean species have been recorded in the SEA7 region. Of these, ten species are known to occur regularly: harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin, short-beaked common dolphin, Risso's dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, long-finned pilot whale, killer whale, sperm whale and minke whale. Five further species, though not very often recorded, and primarily associated with deep water, probably also occur regularly: striped dolphins, fin whales, northern bottlenose whales, Cuvier's beaked whale and Sowerby's beaked whale. There are occasional at-sea records of a further 6 species: Sei whale, humpback whale, blue whale, northern right whale and false killer whale. Pygmy sperm whales and at least three further species of beaked whale might also be expected in the general area on occasion. In this report, each of the more abundant species is briefly described with particular reference to its distribution and abundance in the SEA-7 area.

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    As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) a geophysical survey was undertaken on SV Meridian SEA6 Survey A (or Leg 1) in the eastern Irish Sea mainly in the central region between the Isle of Man and Cumbrian coast. The aims of the data collection were to survey geographical areas where the regional BGS maps and other published data indicated knowledge gaps in the understanding of regional seabed sediment distribution patterns and processes; Create high resolution bathymetric, backscatter and superficial geological data suitable for mapping banks, deeps, transitions between seabed coarse and fine sediments and the mid-shelf and nearshore environments; Generate data suitable for calibration of previous interpretations of net bedload sediment transport directions. Multibeam, sidescan sonar and chirp seismic data were collected. 14 gridded processed multibeam files are available. Raw data are also available.14 mosaic sidescan tif files available. Raw seismic data also available. Cruise reports are available.

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    As part of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1, sediment samples were collected from the area designated as the White Zone at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as part of its sea-going research activities during summer 2000. The objective of the cruise was to provide a description of the current state of the seabed in the survey area, while providing baseline environmental data and identifying larger-scale environmental patterns and processes. The survey programme was conducted from Charles Darwin between July and September 2000, with samples for a number of chemical and biological analyses being collected. An Excel file containing detail of species abundance is available.

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    Sediment samples were collected during the Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1 (White Zone) Environmental Survey in 2000 at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This data report collates all the results generated by Gardline Survey Limited. The analysis undertaken on the sediment samples were: total organic carbon and total organic nitrogen; total hydrocarbon and n-alkane content and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) content.

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    Sediment samples were collected from selected areas of the southern North Sea as part of the ongoing Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA2). The aim of the survey was to describe the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of a range of offshore sandbanks and pockmarks (more than 12 km from the coast). The survey focused on three main study areas in the southern North Sea: the Dogger Bank study area; the South Fladen Pockmark study area and a major sand bank area off the coasts of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. This report presents the following sediment data: Total hydrocarbon and n-alkane concentrations; 2 to 6 ring polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) content; selected metals concentrations.

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    As part of as part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA2) a geophysical survey was carried out in three different quarters of the North Sea: Norfolk Coast (Area 1), Dogger Bank (Area 2) and Fladen Ground (Area 3) from Kommandor Jack SEA2 Survey Leg 1, 2001. Multibeam, sidescan sonar and chirp seismic data were collected. The survey was carried to identify potential offshore Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). It was necessary to acquire data on specific features identified in the EU Habitats Directive, such as sandbanks and pockmarks, some of which might subsequently be defined as SACs. The survey was carried out in two legs. Leg one included the geophysical surveys in three different quarters of the North Sea as well as the charting which was used to guide the sampling and photographic work on the second leg. The following data are available - 25 files of processed multibeam data. Screenshots of backscatter processing are also available. Side-scan mosaics. Images are available from 15 boxes. Processed seismic data. Cruise report

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) and is an addendum to "SEA2 Technical report 005 - An overview of plankton ecology in the North Sea" by same authors. Eight marine mammal species occur regularly over large parts the North Sea: harbour seal, grey seal, harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, killer whale and minke whale. A further 15 cetacean species and five pinniped species are reported less frequently in the region. This report describes the distribution and abundance of these mammals and their ecological importance. The harbour porpoise the most numerous marine mammal in the North Sea, with a population estimated at 268,000 in summer 1994. The northern parts of the SEA3 area are important for the three most abundant cetacean species in the North Sea: minke whale, harbour porpoise and white-beaked dolphin. Harbour seals occur widely in the SEA3 area. Marine mammals make use of sound for a variety of purposes: finding prey, detecting predators, communication and probably navigation. The offshore oil and gas industry generates underwater noise at every stage of the process: during exploration seismic surveys, drilling, production and decommissioning. The effects of these different sources of underwater noise on marine mammals are discussed. The use of explosives for underwater cutting and demolition during the decommissioning of platforms and installations may pose a serious threat to some marine mammals. The effects of pollution on seals and cetaceans are discussed, including the effects of oil spills. Large whales can be killed by being struck by ships; increased shipping traffic in an area would increase this threat.

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    This report on archaeology is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). There is a high likelihood of surviving prehistoric archaeology (10,000 - 5000 years old) in certain areas of SEA7, most notably to the west of the Outer Hebrides for a distance of some 10km, to a depth of -20m, and in and among the islands elsewhere (particularly around Islay, Jura, Mull and the Small Isles) along the coast and between S Scotland and N Ireland. The reasons comprise a complex interplay of changing sea level and the rebound of the land once freed from the compression of ice at the end of the last Ice Age. The net result of these physical effects is that 10,000 years ago relative sea level has been up to 45m lower along much of the coast and this corresponds with the period of early human settlement in the area. In places this means that considerable areas of submerged land exist. An investigation of bathymetric, sedimentary and tidal data for the area suggests that the prehistoric land surface, including archaeological remains, may survive in many places. Cooperation between existing extraction companies and renewable industries and archaeologists elsewhere in Britain shows how the recording and investigation of archaeological material could be beneficial to both parties should work take place in SEA7. The final sections provide a preliminary examination of how matters might be taken forward to safeguard the archaeological knowledgebase without prejudicing commercial interests.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA4) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). The report describes the surficial sediments in the SEA4 area and the sedimentary processes that are active in the area at the present day. The report focuses on the deeper water areas from the outer continental shelf to the floor of the Norwegian Basin in the northernmost part of SEA4. The report is based on sidescan sonar images, multibeam bathymetry, sub-bottom profiles, seabed photographs and sediment samples. The Holocene and late glacial events and processes that contributed to the present day seafloor morphology and sediment distribution are reviewed, as is the present day oceanographic regime. It is concluded that the present day sedimentary environment, seaward of the continental shelf edge at about 200 m water depth, is dominated by low sediment input and deposition rates, and by reworking of surficial sediments by bottom currents. The large scale seabed morphology was shaped mainly during the last glacial, when high sediment input resulted in glacigenic debris fan formation.