“Maerl- A Rare Seabed Habitat” is an independent marine science documentary about coralline red algae habitats found in the clear, shallow waters of the west of Ireland and worldwide. Maerl is found in Galway Bay subtidally, intertidally or as biogenic gravel beaches, such as Carraroe’s “Trá an Doilin” or the beach locally known incorrectly as “Coral Strand.” As benthic habitats of great conservation significance, marine scientists have researched maerl in Ireland for over a century.
This documentary explores a diverse range of multidisciplinary research areas related to maerl, including marine botany, zoology, ecology, conservation management to geology, hydrographic surveying and geophysics. With nine interviews with knowledgeable experts on maerl and the seabed, it explores the threat of anthropogenic activity on maerl, including extraction and dredging, salmon farming near maerl, trawling beds and numerous suggestions of solutions by leading experts some of whom have studied maerl for 20 – 40 years. We hope it will be one step towards educating the next generation of scientists, policy makers, for stakeholder management and the threats faced by exploitation of this vulnerable benthic habitat.
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