APEM provide high quality monitoring and management services in relation to rare and protected species. 

Our team of nationally recognised marine and freshwater scientists provide expert advice on biodiversity and species protection in all aquatic habitats to a wide variety of clients, from the Environment Agency and local councils to water companies and angling associations.

Protecting biodiversity and rare species

APEM perform assessments of populations and habitats of rare and protected species in order to inform the condition assessment of the species, at individual sites or across whole river catchments. We offer walkover surveys that provide detailed information on in-river features and riparian and bankside habitats.

Our licensed surveyors are experienced in survey methods for white-clawed crayfish, bullhead, water voles and otters, among many other protected species. The ornithology team at APEM have a long track record in carrying out remote sensing surveys of vulnerable species and freshwater, marine and terrestrial bird populations.

Our scientists have extensive experience in analysis and interpretation, together with an in-depth understanding of aquatic condition assessments and management. We have been involved in a number of major conservation and protection programmes and high profile, multi-agency projects promoting biodiversity.

For example, we played a key role in supporting Natural England in its monitoring and management of freshwater systems, including lamprey population surveys. We also developed strategic documents and methodologies that now underpin key aspects of the management of Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Areas of Conservation (SAC).

BG Shape 2 - Wave

APEM have broad experience in both large and small-scale studies under European habitats and species legislation, monitoring species and habitats within SSSI, SAC, Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), Special Protection Areas (SPA) and Ramsar sites.

Our work has informed national policy and guidance documents, as well as a range of research and policy projects, for regulators and other agencies. This has included major contributions to the ‘LIFE in UK Rivers’ series on rare and endangered species. As part of this EU initiative, we have developed monitoring techniques for conservation agencies for a range of threatened species including lamprey, bullhead, spined loach, Arctic char and powan.

white-clawed crayfish
Close up of claw of a white-clawed crayfish

Laboratory services

APEM’s laboratories provide quality-controlled biological analysis of aquatic samples, including several thousand macroinvertebrate samples each year. Our laboratories also cover algae, diatoms, macrophytes, zooplankton and larval fish, meeting the increasing demand for high quality, externally audited analyses. This enables our scientists to accurately identify rare or protected species found within our samples.

Our world-class biolabs are viewed by our regulators and partners as a benchmark for accurate results. We are proud to be at the forefront of technology and innovation.

Biofouling assessments

The build-up of organisms on submerged structures not only adds significant weight and drag to the structures but can support the spread of non-native species.

Whilst fouling of ships’ hulls may spread organisms across stationary structures in oceans such as wind turbines, oil rigs, buoys, piers and jetties, it may facilitate localised spread of invasive species within a region. They can provide a ‘stepping-stone’ for organisms where otherwise no suitable substrates would occur, and where distance would otherwise prevent spread.

APEM have significant experience in assessing fouling communities with the purpose of detecting non-native species and assessing the threat they pose of introducing non-native species.

We plan and execute surveys tailored to fouling communities and the species likely to pose the greatest threats. Rapid assessment surveys are used to detect those species easily identified in the field, whilst laboratory analysis of samples from surface scrapes or settlement panels at one of APEM’s laboratories enables detection of smaller organisms that may not be evident on site.

We interpret the information in the context of local and international guidelines as well as knowledge of the recipient environment. The results are used to determine the risk posed by the vessel/structure and enable us to offer advice on suitable management options or preventative measures.

BG Shape 5 - Wave