Sampling stations in the national environmental monitoring in the marine environment is not defined when it comes to habitat. This means that the environmental monitoring data collected cannot be properly used in the assessments connected to the Habitats Directive or the Marine Framework Strategy Directive. SwAM has funded and commissioned SMHI to explore the possibilities to in a simple manner classify the habitats for the SMHI monitoring stations. The project was intended to test the equipment and through drop video examine if it is possible, and if so, determine habitats for the open sea stations during the expedition in December, 2016.
SMHI has designed a rig and conducted sampling at 11 of 25 monitoring stations. Lighting problems and weather conditions reduced the number of sampled stations. SMHI:s opinion is that the rig, with adjusted light source, is a good tool for visual investigation of the habitats at the monitoring stations in the open sea. However, we have proposed a number of adjustments to the rig to increase the quality of the images and videos and to increase the possibility to carry out further assessments of the material.
Most of the images show very fine-grained material like silt / clay. A few species have been recorded and almost no vegetation. Most of the stations did not meet the criteria for the Habitat Directive . At two stations habitat was registered as 1160 Bays and sounds, containing1110 Sandbanks. For HUB Underwater biotopes, AB.H3O Baltic aphotic muddy sediments Characterized by infaunal echinoderms was registered at the station P2 and AB.M4U Baltic aphotic mixed substrate Characterized by no macro community was registered on stations BY5 and BY4.
SMHI recommends a review of the collected material together with ArtDatabanken and / or additional expert to ensure the performed assessment, to ensure recommendations and to quality control and define the material to be reported to a data host.
SMHI recommend additional visual sampling of the remaining stations, as well as additional sampling on stations where the quality of the image was inadequate, or where ArtDatabanken or a possible additional expert recommend additional sampling. Additional experts may recommend adding sediment sampling to the visual method at some stations.
Performing visual sampling of all 25 stations, with one landing per station, will extend the expedition with approximately 11,5-13, hours.