The aim of this study was to improve knowledge of the occurrence and distribution of species and habitats of recognised conservation importance in eleven locations around Scotland through the analysis of seabed video and still photographic imagery collected during monitoring and research cruises undertaken from 2015 to 2018.
Nine of the survey locations are encompassed by the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) network: Sound of Barra, Loch Fyne, Sound of Mull, Wester Ross, Noss Head and an MPA proposal encompassing the Southern Trench in the outer Moray Firth and inland waters off Rattray Head. Areas surveyed in Loch Ailort and off Melvaig, Wester Ross do not lie within MPAs. Priority Marine Features (PMFs) including maerl beds, horse mussel beds, serpulid aggregations and ocean quahog are reported. This work also contributes to a programme of refining predictive mapping of the distribution of Habitats Directive Annex I habitats within Scottish marine SACs as well as improving our knowledge of the distribution of Priority Marine Features and MPA protected features in Scottish waters.