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2011, ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd., Geogenic Reefs and the Marine Aggregate Industry

2011, ABP Marine Environmental Research Ltd., Geogenic Reefs and the Marine Aggregate Industry

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Benthic Ecology
Sedimentology

Description

The objective of this monograph is to synthesise the current knowledge on the nature
and distribution of geogenic reefs in UK waters, and to discuss how anthropogenic
activities such as aggregate extraction and other marine industries may affect the
integrity of these features.
There are a large number of geogenic feature types, which have been formed over
many thousands of years by glacial, geological and marine processes. Generically
however, geogenic reefs may be categorised as either bedrock or stony features.
Geogenic reefs support a diverse range of flora and fauna and thus represent
important habitats, some of which are protected by environmental designations.
Consideration is also given to the morphology and distribution of more general gravel
and mixed sand/gravel habitats, which are a primary source of marine aggregate.
Marine aggregate dredging has the potential to affect geogenic reefs either directly
(in the case of stony reefs) by the removal of sediment, or indirectly through changes
to the hydrodynamic or sedimentary regime. However, the consenting of aggregate
licences is tightly controlled in order to prevent large changes in physical processes.
Therefore, compared with the effects of other anthropogenic activities, aggregate
dredging does not represent a major threat to the integrity of geogenic reefs, provided
that dredging does not take place either directly on or very close to a feature.

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