Maerl beds (Priority Marine Feature) (SNH WMS)

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Marine Scotland Information NMPi icon

The Priority Marine Feature (PMF) list contains 81 habitats and species considered to be of conservation importance in Scotland's seas. It includes many features which are characteristic of the Scottish marine environment, ranging from flame shell beds in coastal waters, to cold-water coral reefs of the deeper seas, and mobile species such as minke whale and basking shark.

This layer shows the distribution of Maerl beds around Scotland. Maerl beds are found along the entire west coast of Britain but the vast majority are in Scotland where they are widespread along the west coast, the Hebrides and the Northern Isles and together represent about 30% of all maerl beds in north-west Europe. Maerl is extremely slow growing and some of the extensive beds may be over 1,000 years old.

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