Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland


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An Experimental Official Statistics Publication for Scotland- NatureScot


NatureScot is looking for views on a new indicator that combines marine and terrestrial species data to help show what is happening to Scotland’s biodiversity. The survey is open for responses until 24 October 2021. Respond here.

The indicator, which is presented as three lines, is based on trends in the occupancy and abundance of native species (in total trends of 3,049 species are used in this report) in Scotland, from all regions and habitats, and including Scotland’s seas within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ: up to 200 nautical miles from the Scottish coast). The trends in abundance (for 583 species) come from a range of established monitoring schemes, and trends in occupancy (2,466 species) from analyses of biological records held by the Biological Records Centre. Abundance trends reflect changes in the number of individuals of a species, whilst occupancy trends are based on the number of sites where a species is present, reflecting the size of the range within which it is found, and can be less sensitive to change than measures of abundance. Trends in abundance and occupancy may vary in different ways and at different rates within the same species, and so the two measures are reported separately. Two of the indicators measure change in terrestrial biodiversity, one for species’ abundance and one for species’ occupancy – note that the species compositions for these are very different. (Where trend data for a species is available for both abundance and occupancy, the abundance data is used.) Trends in marine biodiversity are represented by a separate indicator based on seabird abundance; trends for other marine species’ groups are shown as additional contextual information, but do not contribute towards the headline marine indicator. At present suitable occupancy data for marine species have not been analysed.

Any biodiversity indicator can only represent a sample of the species present. Overall, we have incorporated data for 3,049 species out of around 60,000 present in Scotland and its waters, and we have been able to include some the groups for which Scotland is internationally important such as seabirds, lichens and bryophytes.  This is the most comprehensive indicator for Scotland’s species to date. There are significant biases in the representation of Scotland’s biodiversity, they are, however, the best possible based upon current knowledge and as data from other species groups are made available these will be incorporated in the future.


Read more about this here.

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