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    As part of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1, sediment samples were collected at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) a survey programme was conducted from the NERC Royal Research Ship (RRS) Charles Darwin between July and September 2000, with samples for a number of chemical and biological analyses being collected. An Excel file containing details of heavy metal analysis is available.

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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) and describes the hydrography of the SEA7 area. SEA7 lies across the northern end of the Atlantic Meriodional Overturning Circulation and contains a number of major oceanic currents carrying surface water northward across the whole region and returning cold Artic water around the foot of some of its slopes.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This report reviews the many different sources of underwater noise, both natural and anthropogenic, that combine to provide the background noise levels in which marine organisms need to survive throughout the SEA6 region. The sources of sound combine together in a complex manner resulting in significant spatial and temporal variations in the noise field. A map of the dominant noise sources in the Irish Sea is shown, indicating that man-made noise is the dominant source of noise over about 70% of the area. Shipping noise is likely to be dominant across large parts of the SEA6 area. To fully characterise the ambient noise field in the SEA6 area would require multiple measurements at a large number of locations over a period of a year. However, a considerably lower cost approach would be to characterise each sound source and to use this with occurrence statistics for each source to model the ambient noise field across the region. The advantages and disadvantages of the acoustic modelling approach are discussed.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This report describes the physical oceanography of the Irish Sea from St George's Channel in the south to the North Channel and the Clyde Sea in the north. The report covers the topography and depth of the sea floor, the tides, the impact of storms, stratification and its consequences and the mean circulation, all with a view to mean and extreme conditions. The predominant dynamical process is the semi-diurnal tides, with areas of both high and low energy embraced. Superimposed on this is the full range of water column structure areas that are well mixed throughout the year; areas that stratify thermally in summer; areas of freshwater influence from river discharges, leading both to nearshore density gradients and stratification; frontal regions between the well-mixed and stratified regions. The movement of the water and the amount of mixing prescribe physical effects, such as forces on structures and the movement and dispersion of contaminants, but also significantly influence biogeochemical processes including sediment erosion / deposition and movement, particularly of suspended sediment, benthic exchanges and primary productivity (via stratification, nutrient exchanges and light levels).

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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). A review of the distribution and abundance of divers, grebes and seaduck in the SEA 5 area was carried out by Cork Ecology at the request of the Department of Trade and Industry as part of the production of the SEA 5 Consultation Document. The study area was defined as the east coast of Scotland from the English border north to John O'Groats, including Orkney and Shetland, and the offshore waters in the SEA 5 area. This review considered thirteen species: red-throated diver, black-throated diver, great northern diver, great crested grebe, red-necked grebe, slavonian grebe, scaup, eider, long-tailed duck, common scoter, velvet scoter, goldeneye and red-breasted merganser.

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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). The report concentrates on reviewing existing data and published sources, rather than attempt a quantitative baseline of wrecks and casualties. There is a comprehensive corpus of legislation, plans and polices concerned with the protection of the submerged maritime archaeological resource within the SEA 7 study area. The study outlines the known history of maritime activity within the SEA 7 area. Despite being an extremely large body of water that at times can produce dangerous sea and weather conditions, and encompasses the rugged coastlines of western Scotland and Northern Ireland, the area has been used extensively by seafarers from at least the Mesolithic (from 9000 BC) up to present times. During each time period there has been evidence of human activity within the SEA 7 area, often demonstrated by the discovery of maritime archaeological remains. The waters between the north east of Ireland and Scotland have been used as a means of communication throughout the centuries. Previous investigations of maritime archaeological remains within the SEA 7 area are discussed in the report. The spatial distribution of submerged archaeological remains is discussed, and comments are made on the limitations of any mapped baseline of data. The study concludes with a comment on the potential impacts of oil and gas activities on the submerged maritime archaeological resource and suggests possible monitoring methodologies.

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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). This report summarises the geological history of the SEA4 area from Pre-Cambrian times to the present day, sets the framework in which oil and gas fields have been discovered to the west of Shetland, and discusses the seismicity of the area. A generalised geological map of the area is presented and three approximately NW-SE trending sections across the southern part of the SEA4 area are shown. The petroleum geology of the area is reviewed and the geological settings in which oil has been found at the Clair, Foinaven, Schiehallion and Loyal oilfields is described. Other hydrocarbon fields to the west of Shetland, for which there are no immediate development plans, are briefly touched on. The seismicity of the SEA4 area, which is very low, is discussed.

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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 has been written as an addendum to the more comprehensive SEA2 document. The two papers give an overview of the phytoplankton and zooplankton community composition in the North Sea and how this has fluctuated through the latter half of the 20th Century in response to environmental change. The study is based on a unique long-term dataset of plankton abundance in the North Atlantic and the North Sea acquired by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR). The dinoflagellate genus Ceratium dominates the phytoplankton community in the North Sea, but diatoms are also important, especially in the southern part. The normal annual blooms of plankton are discussed, as are harmful algal blooms (HABs), which appear to be on the increase, possibly due to a combination of climatic variability and eutrophication. Among the zooplankton, copepods are particularly important and constitute a major food resource for many commercial fish species, such as cod and herring. Calanus is the dominant copepod genus in the North Atlantic. Other important components of the plankton - meroplankton, picoplankton and megaplankton - are also reviewed. Very small picoplankton (~1 micron in diameter) and much larger gelatinous members of the megaplankton (e.g. jellyfish and ctenophores) are poorly sampled by the CPR. Although the picoplankton represents a sizeable fraction of total primary production, its role in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood.

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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 (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). The study area dealt with in this report includes all of the Irish Sea that falls within Irish Jurisdiction. The report is intended to complement a similar study of UK waters in the Irish Sea undertaken as part of the UK Government's Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6). The aim of this report is to present an up-to-date overview of all relevant data concerning methane-derived authigenic carbonate and features associated with shallow gas and seabed fluid flow in the Irish sector of the western Irish Sea. It presents a detailed assessment of potential gas sources and migration pathways, shallow gas, gas-related seabed structures and evidence of present day gas seepage in the study area.