Survey of Marine features within Luce Bay and Sands Special Area of Conservation (SAC) Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report 738. July 2014http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/commissioned_reports/738.pdfThe survey discovered two species classed as ‘UK Biodiversity action Plan Priority Habitats’ www.ukmarinesac.org.uk/communities/biogenic-reefs/br4_2.htm. First ,Sabellaria reefs - formed by polycheate (many bristles) worms. The worms construct densely packed tubes (see pic) made of sand grains forming large reefs and the ones found in Luce Bay and along the northern Solway coast are the only confirmed reefs in Western Scotland. The reefs provide a habitat for many different types of flora and fauna such as seaweeds, barnacles, whelks, bivalves, other polycheates, and crustaceans. Second, Maerl Beds. Maerl is the collective name for coraline red algae which grows unattached and can form extensive beds in favourable conditions. Maerl beds belong to the the biotope SS.Smp.Mrl.. High biodiversity is one of the key characteristics of this biotope, which awards its high conservation value. Pristine live maerl beds are important for commercially important queen scallop and other invertebrates such as soft clam, urchins and star fish. The beds have been carbon dated and can live up to 5,500 years. However, maerl has no tolerance for damage and can take millenia to recover. Physical disturbance can degrade Pristine Live Maerl (PLM) into impacted dead maerl. Maerl beds are regarded as a Priority Marine Feature in Scottish waters and are on the OSPAR list of threatened and endangeres habitats. It aks as a special nursery aea for marine species. For further information see UK Marine SAC project. httpwww.ukmarinesac.org.uk/communities/maerl/m1_1.htm
Formerly known as Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre (DGERC), the South West Scotland Environmental Information Centre (SWSEIC) is the local environmental records centre covering Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire. The Centre aims to further the appreciation, understanding and protection of the natural environment of SW Scotland by collecting, collating, managing and safeguarding information about the natural environment and providing a focal point through which anyone may access the information. It is hosted by the Southern Uplands Partnership.The Centre maintains a central database of wildlife and habitat records in Recorder 6 software. The software is a standards-based tool for managing collections of biological data. The Centre also uses ArcGIS and QGIS mapping software to display and analyse this information alongside other geographical datasets, including designated sites, reserve boundaries, habitat datasets and local wildlife sites.The Centre is hosted by the Southern Uplands Partnership and is based at Kirkgunzeon in Dumfries & Galloway. We currently have 2 members of staff.SWSEIC is a member of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres (ALERC).