Click on each thumbnail to view.
Click here
Deployment of a benthic grab sampler
Click here
Contents of a grab
Click here
Microscopic identification of species returned from grab sample
Click here
Dendrogram produced from Cluster Analysis
Click here
PCA plot showing environmental parameters


Marine benthic surveys may be required for a number of different reasons e.g. baseline data required for EIAs, characterising surveys of conservation sites, pre and post dredging surveys, marina/pier developments.

AQUAFACT has the capabilities and expertise to plan and design these benthic surveys, to carry out the sampling, to process the samples and identify the fauna to species level for statistical analysis.

Sampling can be carried out in a number of ways depending on the habitat type. Subtidal muds and soft sediments can be sampled using a corer or a grab sampler. AQUAFACT has at its disposal both a van Veen and a Day Grab sampler. For harder, more compact sediments a Rallier du Baty dredge sampler can be used. Alternatively, in situ diver cores can be taken at the required sampling locations, given suitable water depths.

Following sample collection, all samples are processed and treated in line with current guidelines and methodologies.


Analysis of sediment samples can include sediment grain size, total organic carbon content, heavy metal levels, PAHs, PCBs, TBT, oil identification and dioxins. Sediment analyses is carried out in-house (grain size) and by a number of external laboratories, e.g. Complete Lab Solutions, Ros Muc Galway, Glan Uisce Teo., Furbo Galway, ALS Loughrea, Galway, the UK National Laboratory Service, IJ Labs, Dundalk, Louth.


One of AQUAFACT’s core fields of expertise is the identification of coastal and shelf marine flora and fauna. Our in-house specialists and consultants cover such diverse groups as sponges, coelenterates, polychaetes, crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms, bryozoans, tunicates, minor invertebrate phyla, fish and birds. All our specialists are experts in their fields and regularly publish reviews and revisions of their specific taxa in international journals. Following species identifcation, statistical analysis (link this to the Data Processing and Analysis section in Specialist Services section) is carried out using the PRIMER® package.

PRIMER® consists of a wide range of univariate, graphical and multivariate routines for analysing the species/samples abundance (or biomass) matrices that result from the biological sampling.

CLUSTER analysis is used to identify ‘natural groupings’ of samples based on the faunal assemblages at each station.

MDS plots are another way of graphically representing the samples based on their similarity (or dissimilarity) to each other.

SIMPER analysis allows the identification of the species responsible for the similarities (or dissimilarities) seen between stations.

PCA plots are similar to MDS plots; however, they are based on environmental parameters not species abundance. PCA plots help identify the environmental variable(s) responsible for the similarities between sites.


  • Bantry Bay, Cork
  • Bertraghbui Bay, Galway
  • Blacksod Bay, Mayo
  • Blackwater Bank, Wexford
  • Brandon Bay, Kerry
  • Broadhaven Bay, Mayo
  • Carlingford Lough, Louth
  • Cashla Bay, Galway
  • Castlemaine Harbour, Kerry
  • Clew Bay, Mayo
  • Clifden Bay, Galway
  • Cork Harbour
  • Courtown, Wexford
  • Dingle Harbour, Kerry
  • Doonbeg Bay, Clare
  • Dublin Bay
  • Dundalk Bay
  • Dunmanus Bay, Cork
  • Galway Bay
  • Greatman's Bay, Galway
  • Inisheer, Aran Islands
  • Inver Bay, Donegal
  • Kilkieran Bay, Galway
  • Killala Bay, Mayo
  • Killary Harbour, Galway
  • Killibegs, Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Wexford
  • Kilronan, Inishmore
  • Kinsale Harbour, Cork
  • Kinvara Bay, Galway
  • Kish Bank, Dublin
  • Knightstown, Valentia Island, Kerry
  • Little Island, Waterford
  • Lough Swilly, Donegal,
  • Lough Foyle, Derry
  • Mulroy Bay, Donegal
  • North Sea
  • Porcupine Basin
  • Roaringwater Bay
  • Skerd Rocks, Galway
  • Sligo Bay, Sligo
  • Sruwaddacon Bay, Mayo
  • The Long Bank, Co. Wexford
  • The Shannon Estuary
  • Tralee Bay, Kerry
  • Waterford Harbour
  • Wexford Harbour