Ecological status of Scottish biogenic reefs. A case study of habitat degradation in Loch Creran (Argyll)
Loch Creran is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its bedrock reefs and biogenic reefs of the tube worm Serpula vermicularis and the horse mussel Modiolus modiolus. In 2005 HWU conducted an intensive study of the distribution and status of the serpulid reefs in Loch Creran (Moore et al. 2006). In 2014 we conducted a follow-up survey and documented a catastrophic decline in the extent and condition of these reefs (Tulbure 2015).
This PhD project will investigate the causes, consequences and significance of the observed changes to the reefs through (but not limited to) the following approaches:
- Surveys of reef areas to document the current condition of the habitats in comparison to those indicated in historical records.
- Focussed studies seeking to establish the causes of reef decline.
- Studies of factors influencing the regeneration capacity of the reefs.
- Investigation into long term changes in reef extent.
Dr Daniel Harries and Dr Alastair Lyndon.