What are the features?
There are many different features designated for protection within the marine protected area network. Individual species and habitats can be designated multiple times across the network, and an individual marine protected area may be designated for multiple species and habitats. The complexity of the varying feature designations provides a challenge in assessing the impacts of climate change on conservation targets.
- Analysis includes SACs, SPAs, MCZs and NCMPAs designated as of August 2015, with the exception of Skomer MCZ and Strangford Lough MCZ.
- Analysis does not include ‘seabird assemblages’ or ‘waterfowl assemblages’, which are features of 34 and 41 SPAs respectively.
- Analysis includes the Isles of Scilly MCZs as the 11 separate sites.
- Information included in the analysis on MPAs and features of MPAs provided by JNCC.
A range of different species and habitats are protected as designated features in the marine protected area network, from tiny species, such as the tentacled lagoon-worm, to broad-scale habitats, such as subtidal sandbanks. These species and habitats all differ in the degree to which they are represented and replicated within the marine protected area network. For example, birds account for 86% of the individual species designations in the marine protected area network, whilst invertebrates account for 6%. Broad, physiographic, topographic and oceanographic habitats account for 75% of the individual habitat designations in the marine protected area network, whilst biological communities (animal, plant and algal) account for 25%.