COAST’s short-term volunteers and recent MSc graduates Patricia Beecher and Dean Gordon (From Edinburgh Napier and Heriot Watt respectively) have just completed the first part of a study of seagrass beds around the south of Arran. Seagrass beds are unusual in the marine environment being terrestrial plants which have adapted completely to a saline environment. They create fantastic habitat for juvenile fish and can also play a big part in carbon sequestration. In addition they are an MPA priority feature which occurs widely within the area of the proposed Arran MPA.
Tricia and Dean spent a week chasing low tides getting up before dawn and getting back after dusk to map these beds. They are found within the dykes along the south coast but also in Whiting Bay and off Pirnmill. For a sample of what we have discovered see figure 1 below. We have also surveyed two other sections of the coast within or just below the intertidal zone.
A full report is being sent to Scottish Natural Heritage in support of our MPA application. COAST would like to thank our short-term and long-term volunteers for the essential work they do, their work and support is invaluable. We would also like to encourage SNH to carry out a full survey of the seagrass beds at Pirnmill and Whiting Bay which have long been subject to damage from dredging activity.