Subtidal Surveys

Specialist Expertise

MESL’s core work revolves around conducting benthic and epibenthic surveys in the marine environment, both inshore and offshore.

  • Design of robust survey plans and     methodologies to gain regulatory approval
  • Survey of sub-tidal habitats:
    • all benthic habitats
    • hard substrate using seabed imagery
    • monopiles using remote imagery and sampling techniques
    • conservation habitats using multi-disciplinary techniques
  • Conducting epibenthic and fish surveys
  • Identifying and enumerating marine fauna in our NMBACQ quality assured, in-house laboratory
  • Analysing and interpreting data using a variety of univariate, multivariate and GIS techniques
  • Analysing and interpreting multidisciplinary data relating to the physical environment thus complementing the biological data interpretation


Fresh Water Lens Camera


  • 0.1m2 Hamon Grabs
  • 0.1m2 Day Grab
  • Anchor Dredge


  • 2m  Beam Trawls (CEFAS
  • Plankton  Trawls (various)

 Intertidal Box Corer

  • 20 x 30 x 40 cm

Case Studies

London Gateway Port

Client : DP World.

MESL has held the contract to deliver the marine biological monitoring of the London Gateway port development since the project inception in the early 2000s. MESL initially fed information into and assisted with the preparation of the London Gateway Environmental Impact Assessment, and was influential during the resulting public inquiry. Since then, MESL has been responsible for conducting all of the marine biological monitoring associated with the port development, including a wide range of marine surveys (including intertidal grab and core sample collection and epibethic trawls), macrobenthic sample analyses, reporting, and the provision of advisory consultancy services.

Regional Seabed Monitoring Programmes - Monitoring

Client: South Coast Dredging Association

MESL have been comissioned by The South Coast Dredging Association to conduct the first round of monitoring for the south coast Regional Seabed Monitoring Programme (RSMP). Following the successful completion of the baseline RSMP surveys for the Humber, Thames and Anglian regions in 2015, we will begin surveying the South Coast region summer 2017. The survey will involve the collection of more than 500 grab samples from aggregate licence areas distributed across the southern coast. Following the completion of the survey element, more than 100 faunal samples will be processed by the MESL lab team in Bath while the sediment samples will be analysed by Gardline. The subsequent monitoring data will be compared to baseline environmental conditions to assess the current condition of the seabed. 

Regional Seabed Monitoring Programmes - Baseline

Client: British Marine Aggregate Producers Accociation (BMAPA)

MESL was commissioned by BMAPA on behalf of the Marine Aggregate Companies operating in UK waters, to conduct the large-scale Regional Seabed Monitoring Programme (RSMP) of the Humber, Anglian and Thames aggregate extraction regions. These surveys represent the largest commercial benthic surveys commissioned in the UK to date, with over 2,500 grab samples required from all three regions. MESL were responsible for the conducting the benthic surveys in three of the five focus regions considered in the entire scope of the project and organised a fleet of vessels to undertake this work. 

Licence Area 480

Client : Hanson Aggregates Marine Limited.

MESL prepared the EIA for Hanson Aggregates Marine Limited Licence Area 480. MESL took this project from the Scoping phase, through to the compilation of the full Environmental Statement, the final delivery of regulatory approval and the granting of the dredge licence.

East Anglia Offshore Wind

Client: EAOW Ltd (a joint venture between Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall)

MESL undertook all of the initial benthic survey work related to the 7.2GW East Anglia Offshore Windfarm (EAOW). As part of this project we completed a benthic characterisation of the EAOW zone and the area scheduled for initial development. The outputs of MESL work allowed assessments to be made of the impacts of the construction and operation, of one of the largest offshore wind farms planned for development in the UK.

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