APEM’s marine laboratory has been awarded the largest, most prestigious contract available for analytical quality control in marine benthic taxonomy and particle size analysis. The new contract will see APEM provide expert training and auditing services for the Biological Effects Quality Assurance in Monitoring Programmes (BEQUALM) and the National Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) scheme for the next four years.
APEM employs over 130 people in eight offices throughout the UK, including one at Edinburgh Technopole, and their scientists and experts are leaders in their fields and cover a diverse range of specialisms, from aquatic science to aerial surveys.
The NMBAQC scheme provides external quality assurance and training exercises for competent monitoring authorities, such as CEFAS, the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which produce marine biological data for statutory, national or European programmes. These programmes include, for example, the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme, the Water Framework Directive, the Oslo/Paris Commission programmes, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Habitats Directive.
The scheme also aims to develop and promote best practice in relation to sampling and analysis procedures through a range of training exercises, workshops and dedicated literature. It is co-ordinated by a steering committee, directed by the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG), which is part of the UK marine monitoring and assessment strategy.
David Hall, head of APEM’s marine laboratories, said:
This contract award re-instates my long association with the management of the scheme. I am delighted to be working with the NMBAQC co-ordinating committee again and look forward to offering APEM’s benchmark benthic capabilities to improve biological data across Europe.”
APEM operates the only laboratory in the UK to hold UKAS accreditation (ISO 17025) for marine macrobenthic sample processing. This and our position as the NMBAQC scheme’s auditor and training provider, leave our clients in no doubt that APEM’s marine laboratories and staff (with over 190 years’ experience between them) are a centre of excellence for benthic ecology.
The award of this marine contract compliments APEM’s suite of expert audit services across freshwater benthic habitats and enables competent monitoring authorities to assess the quality of their data as well as their contractors’ with a view to continually improving data quality and consistency across Europe.
The NMBAQC scheme is open to all laboratories and organisations throughout Europe, with additional bespoke auditing available for global projects. For further information visit the NMBAQC scheme website (www.nmbaqcs.org) or email APEM (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Work is already underway on this contract, with an international invertebrate taxonomy workshop planned for November 2014, a ring test due to be circulated early this year, form and protocols under revision and preparation underway for the receipt of external audit samples. Further details will be available soon.