Ecological Survey

Ecological surveys identify and record the habitats and/or species in a given place. Such information is regularly used to inform impact assessments, site management decisions and conservation policy development.

ABPmer’s marine ecologists design bespoke, robust and proportionate ecological surveys to meet all project needs.

Surveys can be conducted as standalone baseline site characterisations, or as an integral part of wider impact assessment studies and long-term monitoring programmes.

Following established survey protocols and applying innovative techniques, our experienced ecologists undertake all stages of survey delivery including: design, regulatory consultation, field survey, analysis and reporting.


Habitat surveys

Before undertaking a marine or coastal development, it is often important to gain a deep understanding of the distribution and extent of habitats at the site, and the potential impact to flora and fauna. This can help inform activities such as baseline assessments to support marine licence applications, or the identification of protected habitat and species to support conservation.

ABPmer specialises in undertaking intertidal and subtidal habitat surveys in marine, coastal and estuary environments.

Habitat mapping
Habitat mapping is the classification of habitats at a site. The resulting maps show the spread of habitat types, such as saltmarsh, sand, mud and cobbles, as well as sub-types within these areas.

By determining the habitats present at the site, ecologists can identify what, if any, protected habitats and species might be supported there, and assess the need for any further, more targeted surveys.

We undertake habitat mapping surveys for numerous clients to support a wide variety of applications. Our experienced surveyors combine established operating procedures with innovative survey techniques, including the use of GPS equipment to map habitat boundaries along the intertidal shoreline, as well as UAVs (drones) to rapidly collect habitat imagery.

Our ecological surveyors routinely conduct intertidal habitat mapping, such as Phase I (walkover) surveys across a range of coastal environments, including:

  • Estuarine complexes
  • Honeycomb worm reefs
  • Mudflats and sandflats
  • Rocky shores
  • Saltmarsh
  • Intertidal seagrass beds

We also capture high-resolution underwater imagery for seabed visualisation and mapping of subtidal areas.

Habitat sampling
Playing a vital role informing complex consenting requirements and condition assessments, habitat sampling identifies and assesses habitats, species, and sediment makeup in detail.

ABPmer’s experienced surveyors use specialist equipment and bespoke sampling techniques, including core and grab sampling for detailed faunal and sediment analysis, and the capture of high-resolution drop-down video (DDV) stills for seabed visualisation.

Our ecologists undertake Phase II (quadrat and core sampling) surveys across a range of intertidal habitats and benthic sampling across multiple subtidal environments.

Our subtidal survey capabilities include:

  • Grab sampling (Day, Hamon and Van Veen)
  • Drop-down video camera and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) surveys
  • Sediment sampling (PSA, contaminant analysis)


Habitat survey calendar (recommended April - October)


Bird surveys

Our experienced ornithologists have substantial experience undertaking dedicated surveys of coastal waterbirds and seabirds for baseline and post-consent monitoring studies.

We undertake surveys based on established techniques including:

  • WeBS approaches
  • Vantage Point surveys
  • Vessel-based seabirds at sea methods
  • Night vision optics for nocturnal surveys

We also apply innovative techniques such as GPS tagging for telemetry studies.

Calendar for surveys of seabirds at sea (all year), overwintering waterbirds (October - March) and breeding waterbirds (March - June)


Fish surveys

Our ecological surveyors have detailed knowledge of fish ecology and the commercial fishing industry, and use a range of techniques to sample coastal, marine and migratory fish species.

Sampling approaches include:

  • Coastal surveys (seine, gill, fyke netting)
  • Mid water and epibenthic trawls
  • Baited underwater video
  • Shellfish assessment surveys
  • Habitat assessment (black bream nesting sites)


Calendar of fish surveys (April - June, September - October)


Marine mammal surveys

Our survey team includes qualified Marine Mammal Observers with experience undertaking dedicated marine mammal surveys for baseline characterisation and impact monitoring programmes, including JNCC mitigation protocols.

Survey methods include vessel-based transect surveys, coastal vantage point and passive acoustic monitoring.

Calendar of marine mammal surveys (year round)

Andrew Pearson

+44 (0)23 8071 1854


  • Baseline characterisation
  • Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Habitat mapping/classification
  • Habitat and condition monitoring
  • Marine licence support
  • Monitoring of protected sites and species
  • Post-consent monitoring
  • Seabed classification

Ready to talk about a survey?

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Marine and Coastal Survey - part of ABPmer

Contact us

Quayside Suite
Medina Chambers
Town Quay
SO14 2AQ

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