- Coastal zones are the most dynamic ocean habitats; constantly changing environments at the land & sea interface, shaped by the wind, weather & tide.
- There is 650km of stunning coastline in Northern Ireland, of which three quarters is protected for its special conservation value. In NI, there is a wide range of habitats within a relatively small area, therefore coastal areas are rich in terms of biodiversity. Several of the coastal habitats & species are internationally important.
- Coastal regions in this audit include Lough Foyle & Magilligan, Causeway Coast, North-east Coast, Rathlin Island & Larne Lough.
- Coastal Priority Habitats included are as follows. Broad Habitats are included in parentheses:
– Coastal Sand Dunes (Supralittoral Sediment)
– Coastal Vegetated Shingle (Supralittoral Sediment)
– Coastal Maritime Cliff & Slope (Supralittoral Rock)
– Coastal Saltmarsh (Littoral Sediment)
– Coastal Mudflats(Littoral Sediment)
- More than fifty percent of our biodiversity occurs beneath the waters surface. Marine life in the seas surrounding NI is rich & highly diverse. Various crustaceans, molluscs, tunicates, cnidarians, echinoderms & birds live or feed at sea.
- Marine habitats include those in the intertidal, sub-tidal & open sea. Priority Habitats included in this audit are as follows. Broad Habitats are included in parentheses:
– Sheltered Muddy Gravels (Littoral Sediment)
– Sublittoral Sands & Gravels (Inshore Sublittoral Sediment)
– Maerl Beds (Inshore Sublittoral Sediment)
– Seagrass Beds (Inshore Sublittoral Sediment)
– Saline Lagoons (Inshore Sublittoral Sediment)
– Tidal Rapids (Inshore Sublittoral Rock)
– Sabellaria spinulosa Reefs (Inshore Sublittoral Rock)
– Littoral & Sublittoral Chalk (Inshore Sublittoral Rock)