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Time for Some Marine Themed Fun

Thu, 2020-04-02 14:07

If you’re stuck for some fun, educational things to do at the moment then look no further than our Marine Education Zone.

Below, our Comms Team has recommended some of their favourite Marine Scotland themed resources to keep boredom at bay – so check them out and share your creations.

You can tweet your finished article tagging @marinescotland and using #MShomeschooling Or you can send them directly to us using the address ms.exhibitions@gov.scot and we’ll share them on Twitter.

  • Our You Tube channel has a range of great video clips including a virtual tour of one of our research vessels, the Scotia (best experienced via VR headset).
  • Or see what it was like to be on a trawler back in the 1950s by checking out this video footage onboard the Explorer.
  • Both vessels appear in our booklet which takes a look at the Marine Scotland vessel fleet through the ages.
  • If you don’t have the sea legs for any of that, why not head over to our Marine Education Zone to build one, or all of, our vessels out of Lego – there’s step-by-step instructions for each one.
  • You can check out our Fishy Facts for answers to big questions such as “Do fish ever stop swimming?” and many more.
  • Or download some of our factoid sheets so you can colour and learn at the same time. Did you know there is more DNA in a bucket of seawater than in a human body?!
  • You can turn yourself into a fish using our handy instructions on how to make a fish hat!
  • Or get creative with Sheena salmon and Tavish trout.
  • Pirate Fishface is also in need of some help to find the missing items in his wordsearch.
  • And last but certainly not least we have some newly designed colouring sheets on our Flickr site, including one where you can see how many pieces of litter you can find and cross out.
Further Information:
  • The Explorer was in our fleet from 1955 to 1984 and is now being restored by the Explorer Preservation Society to be used as a floating museum in Leith, Edinburgh.
  • More marine themed fun can be found on our website.

The post Time for Some Marine Themed Fun appeared first on Marine Scotland.

New Reports looking at Sea Lice Dispersal around Scotland

Mon, 2020-03-30 14:00

Two new science reports have been published investigating sea lice dispersal between finfish aquaculture management areas around Scotland. The peer-reviewed article published in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science looks at modelling output at a regional scale with some specific examples. The report for the Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science (SMFS) series provides more in depth information for each region.

Although modelling studies examining sea lice connectivity in Scotland have been published before, this is the first study that looks at the whole coast and islands, instead of individual water bodies, or a relatively small subset of areas. This was done using the Scottish Shelf Model, and its sub-models, to highlight and analyse the large-scale dispersal between Farm Management Areas. These are areas defined by the aquaculture industry primarily to coordinate practices to control parasitic sea lice, which have a large economic impact on the industry and raise significant wild fish conservation and farmed fish welfare issues.

The results of these studies provide information which can help develop more effective parasite control strategies.

Key Headlines from Model Simulations:
  • We find a general northward flow of particles representing sea lice from mainland farm management areas, aligned with the prevailing circulation.
  • Some regions (Loch Linnhe/Sound of Mull) can be classified as net exporters of sea lice and some (east coast of the Western Isles, the north-west coast) as net importers, according to our simulations.
  • A few regions show far reaching connections, for example between the Scottish mainland and the Western Isles.
  • Other areas, such as Shetland, appear to be self-contained but internally well inter-connected.

These results were based on an ‘average year’ simulation. Extreme events and year-specific conditions would most likely introduce additional variability and would potentially result in new connections or the absence of some others identified in this study.

(Main image: Graphical abstract describing the main outcomes of our studies (Rabe et al., 2020))

Further Information:

Partners in this project were: National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool and Jacobs Engineering (formerly CH2M).

Further Reading on Marine Scotland Information website

The post New Reports looking at Sea Lice Dispersal around Scotland appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Monitoring the Sights and Sounds of Atlantic Cod

Mon, 2020-03-23 12:28

Many marine organisms, such as whales, dolphins and seals produce sound whilst they are under water. Maybe you’ve heard the clicking noises made by dolphins. But did you know that this is also the case for fish too?

This is what PhD student Monika Kosecka has been studying as part of her project on fish acoustics. Usually based in Oban, at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) campus, Monika came to Aberdeen to conduct acoustic and behavioural trials using the fish behaviour aquaria at Marine Scotland.Fish Trials - four views on CCTV

Conducting Trials

Monika monitored nine fish during the trials, recording all sounds they produced whilst also compiling video footage of their behaviour. The aim of the trials was to record sounds produced by Atlantic cod during spawning which could then be used to create automatic detectors for spawning cod.

These could potentially allow analysis of large amounts of underwater sound recordings collected in the wild to help search for important areas for cod spawning in their natural environment.

Monika is now preparing to link specific sounds to particular fish behaviour, which will help us to understand in which situations cod are using sound to communicate.

Speaking about her project Monika said: “I have chosen the Atlantic cod as a species of primary interest, mainly due to its Fish trials - cod and acoustic deviceeconomic importance and the fact that the stocks are in decline. I am hoping I can develop a method to find cod sounds in acoustic data, that may be helpful in the search for cod spawning grounds around UK waters, and hopefully inform stakeholders when implementing appropriate conservation measures.”

The fish successfully spawned during the study period which took place in February, due to the expected spawning time of cod, and, based on the first screening of data, they were vocally active.

Further Information:

The post Monitoring the Sights and Sounds of Atlantic Cod appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Acoustic Tracking of Salmon and Sea Trout in Torridon

Wed, 2020-03-18 11:30

A two-year project has helped to track the movement of salmon and sea trout smolts in the Loch Torridon system, Wester Ross.

During 2018 and 2019 Marine Scotland Science fitted migrating salmon and sea trout with acoustic transmitters to track them through a grid of 80 acoustic receivers across Upper Loch Torridon, Loch Shieldaig and most of Outer Loch Torridon. With each of the receivers spaced around 800m apart, the movements of individual fish could be tracked around the study area.

Over the two years smolts were tagged in each of the three main rivers emptying into the system:

  • Torridon (35 salmon, 53 sea trout),
  • Balgy (85 salmon, 50 sea trout), and
  • Shieldaig (274 sea trout)

More than 2.5 million pings from fish tags were detected.

Some of the initial findings showed:
  • Salmon from both the Torridon and the Balgy showed marked variation in time taken to leave the area, indicating potential differences in individual exposure to hazards encountered in the inshore environment.
  • Variation in sea trout movement patterns – from fish that remained in the area surrounding their river mouth, to fish that moved to a non-natal river mouth. For example, one fish from the Shieldaig spent several days in the sea pool of the Applecross (where a lone receiver had been stationed) before returning to Torridon.
  • Predation was frequently identified as a source of mortality for sea trout. Predation events could be identified through pronounced changes of tag behaviour and speed of movement in the array and, for data tags, increases in reported temperature and associated changes in depth patterns.
  • Non-lethal tag ejection events were detected by a tag being recorded as stationary on the sea bed, while the fish it had been inserted into was subsequently recaptured in the Shieldaig fish trap, recognised by its secondary tag sea trout depth-use varied between day and night (deeper in the day) which could be due to a change in food availability or a response to a change in predation risk.

In 2020 MSS will again be tagging fish in the three rivers and deploying an array of acoustic receivers. This year however, the array’s design will be modified in an attempt to discover the fate of the fish that are never detected at sea, and to shed further light on the night-time ‘disappearance’ of sea trout. We also aim to collect further information on the ‘escape times’ of salmon, and to perform an analysis of genetic material collected from the fish.

 

Further Information:

The post Acoustic Tracking of Salmon and Sea Trout in Torridon appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Speculative Harbouring: Living Landscapes

Wed, 2020-03-11 11:30

As we celebrate British Science Week we’re delighted to bring you an update from Indian artist and researcher, Sonia Mehra Chawla, with whom we worked closely with during the research phase of her two year project.

Sonia’s installation, which focuses on issues around the North Sea, will be open to the public from April 4, 2020 at Edinburgh Printmakers and is presented as part of Edinburgh Science Festival 2020 and the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 Partner Programme.

Below, Sonia has given us some excerpts from her working notes – where we see her begin to explore living systems and the phases of growth and decay. We hope you enjoy this insight into how creative thoughts and ideas begin to form and grow and how the juxtaposition between science and art becomes more apparent.

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Constructing Living Vessels

“Back in the laboratory, we decided to construct devices for culturing a rich diversity of microorganisms, unique miniature microbial ecosystems or microbial gardens.  The structure of a microbial community is the result of environmental factors, evolutionary processes, and neutral or stochastic processes. Once prepared, the column is a self-sustaining, enclosed ecosystem dependent only on input of light as an exogenous energy source.

The column provides a whole range of environments in one small setting, a microcosm enabling many types of organisms with different requirements to grow in different sections of the column.

Over time and space, microbial activity and abiotic processes result in chemical and environmental gradients from top to bottom and surface to interior of the columns, resulting in diverse niches for microbial growth.

The prepared columns were observed over several months for development of layers, smell, colours, and zones.  As the microbes in the soil photo-synthesize pigments, we are exposed to the processes of growth and decomposition of various species of bacteria within this ecosystem, with variations in populations observed through waves of colour.

Incubating the column in available light for several months results in an aerobic/anaerobic gradient as well as a sulfide gradient.  These two gradients promote the growth of different microorganisms such as: Clostridium, Desulfovibrio, Chlorobium, Chromatium, Rhodomicrobium, and Beggiatoa, as well as many other species of bacteria, cyanobacteria, and algae.”

 

Further Information:

The post Speculative Harbouring: Living Landscapes appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Celebrating Women in the Fishing Industry on International Women’s Day

Thu, 2020-03-05 10:30

Ms Hannah Fennell, Senior Researcher in our Marine Analytical Unit

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to announce that Ms Hannah Fennell, Senior Researcher in our Marine Analytical Unit, will be giving a talk at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther about her research into ‘The Unacknowledged Inputs of Orkney’s Fishing Industry’.

The ‘Women in the Fishing Industry’ event will begin at 1 pm on Sunday 8th March and will continue throughout the afternoon. Women from all areas of the fishing industry will be giving talks about their research, work and what it is like to be a woman in these industries.

Talking about her study Hannah told us: During my research for Orkney Fisheries I found that women have provided vital onshore support to the industry for hundreds of years. While the nature of women’s roles in the industry has changed due to advances in technology and women’s ability to enter the workforce, the activities of women still remain central to the industry.”

Hannah’s research concluded with a report detailing a number of suggestions to enhance the decision-making process. To find out more about Hannah’s research and to hear from other inspirational women in the fishing industry please sign up to attend the free event here.

Further Information:

The post Celebrating Women in the Fishing Industry on International Women’s Day appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Mark Rennie

Tue, 2020-03-03 16:45

Scottish Apprenticeship Week is underway and this year’s theme is ‘talent without limits’. We hear from Mark Rennie, Marine Scotland Science, who successfully completed the Modern Apprenticeship programme and has who has been nominated for Engineering Apprentice of the Year.

Mark Rennie

Mark Rennie

“I applied for a mechanical engineering apprenticeship with the Scottish Government after being made redundant. When I joined Marine Scotland my role was split between manufacturing components within the mechanical workshop, which were deployed on our research vessels, and working in the oceanographic section. I maintained equipment and went on to deploy moorings and carry out ocean monitoring sampling.

“On completion of my apprenticeship I was nominated for ‘Engineering Apprentice of the Year’ by NESCol and subsequently moved into a permanent post as an Acoustic Engineer. My new role consists of maintaining the research vessels acoustic systems, fishing net monitoring system and various electronic equipment. I also go out on vessels to carry out acoustic surveys, assist with fish stock monitoring and surveys.

“Since starting at the Scottish Government my confidence, communication and problem solving skills have grown. I’m enjoying the challenge of my new position and look forward to a career with the Scottish Government.”

We wish him all the best of luck for the ceremony being held at NESCol on Thursday.

 

Further Information:

o Skills Development Scotland
o Apprenticeships in Scotland
o Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board
o UCAS Apprenticeships in Scotland
o Scottish Government Marine and Fisheries

The post Scottish Apprenticeship Week – Mark Rennie appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Detecting Weekly Changes in our Oceans using Seagliders

Fri, 2020-02-28 11:00

Marine Scotland Scientists have been involved in a series of three ocean glider data set peer-reviewed articles. The latest, titled ‘Weekly variability of hydrography and transport of northwestern inflows into the northern North Sea’ has recently been published in the Journal of Marine Science.

Collaborating with researchers from the University of East Anglia, colleagues from our Oceanography group used our marine research vessel MRV Scotia to deploy an underwater autonomous glider, called a Seaglider, to collect underwater observations in the northern North Sea.

This region is of great interest as coastal waters that flow clockwise around the Scottish coast and waters from the Atlantic Ocean enter the North Sea here. During summer time, parts of the northern North Sea also stratify when heat input from the sun is not fully mixed throughout the water column, and instead creates a layer of warmer water, near the sea surface. A thermal mixing front occurs where there is a transition from the stratified waters to those where the sun’s heat input is mixed throughout the water column all year round.

The deployment was part of the Brahan Project; an initiative led by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) to measure the speed and direction of ocean surface currents on an hourly basis and provide information about wave parameters as well.

In addition to the Seaglider observations previous measurements collected by MSS were also used by collaborator and lead author Peter Sheehan.

Analysing the Northern North Sea

During this work, Peter collected observations across an area of the northern North Sea and the analysis showed that salinity and water mass distribution are important controls on the location of the front, as well as surface heat input and mixing by tidal currents.

In the final of the three publications, Peter’s work analysed the two-month glider deployment to describe water mass properties and volume transport at a high spatial and temporal resolution (Sheehan et al., 2020). Traditionally, observations are collected three times per year during hydrographic surveys aboard MRV Scotia. The ocean glider occupied a significant part of the Joint North Sea Information System (JONSIS) section 10 times in two months.

The Seaglider is capable of collecting observations at a much finer scale than ship-based surveys and has highlighted the occurrence of several, strong narrow currents. These finer-scale patterns are important to understand the transport of water, and all of its contents (such as heat, salt and microscopic organisms), into the northern North Sea. Which can, in turn, provide additional context to the long-term monitoring that characterises the prevailing physical conditions in the area and how they change as a result of natural processes and a changing climate.

Peter (shown right) is continuing his work with ocean gliders at the University of East Anglia, but is now using glider data to investigate water mass composition and air-sea interactions in the warmer waters of the Bay of Bengal.

Map of the North Sea. The location of the JONSIS line (cyan) and the approximate paths of the Fair Isle Current (FIC), East Shetland Atlantic Inflow (ESAI), Norwegian Trench Inflow (NTI), Norwegian Coastal Current (NCC) and English Channel Inflow (ECI) are shown. From Sheehan et al. (2020).

Further Reading:

The post Detecting Weekly Changes in our Oceans using Seagliders appeared first on Marine Scotland.

New Blue Carbon Resource for Marine Scientists

Mon, 2020-02-24 10:40

Two new science reports have been published today by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) that will be used to improve our understanding and management of Blue Carbon; carbon found stored beneath the sea in sediment, shells and living plants.

One is a collaborative project with University of St Andrews ‘Re-Evaluating Scotland’s Sedimentary Carbon Stocks’ and the other authored solely by MSS ‘A Compendium of Marine Related Carbon Stores, Sequestrations and Emissions’.

Using up to date information is important for all marine scientists working in the field of Blue Carbon. However, we found that many differing basic values were being used to describe Scotland’s Blue Carbon, as well as related marine emissions and sequestrations.

To help ensure more consistency, we have taken some time to assemble a base set of checked and improved published evidence, and make these available (along with links to the original sources) in a single report.

By using these new reports we can now see that:
  1.  Scottish marine stores of carbon (top 10 cm) are about 18 times as large as carbon stores in either Scottish peatland (top 10 cm) or forests (living trees) – this tells us that we must manage and protect marine stores of carbon so that they do not contribute to global warming processes in the future.
  2.  In order to manage and protect marine carbon we need to better understand:
  •    how carbon is removed from the marine environment, and
  •   what threats there may be for large stores of carbon in the marine environment such as: physical disturbance and climate change.

 

Further information Links to the two reports are below: Further information can be obtained from:

 

 

 

 

The post New Blue Carbon Resource for Marine Scientists appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Fishing Gear Technologist, closing date 17 March

Thu, 2020-02-20 10:00

The successful candidate will join the Fishing Technology Group within Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen and contribute to its broad spectrum of roles and collaborations both national and international. The core gear technology work of the group includes working with Scottish fishing industry to develop novel solutions to reduce unwanted fish by-catches, investigate fish behaviour in relation to fishing gears, monitor/report on fishing gear performance, catchability of survey trawl systems and designing new survey (fishing) gears to improve fish stock predictions. The group are responsible and expected to provide advice and represent Marine Scotland on all aspects of fishing gear technology both nationally and internationally.

Qualifications Required:

For jobs in Band B & C you must hold a minimum of 3 Highers or equivalent.
Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

You must also have a valid ENG1 medical certificate or have the ability to pass a medical.

Essential Criteria:

1. A proven ability to interpret net specification plans, experience of rigging fishing gear and demonstrate basic net rigging techniques.
2. To be a confident communicator with proven verbal and written communication skills and ability to present information/data clearly and concisely.
3. Good organisational skills, ability to plan and prioritise work, use own initiative and take responsibility for key tasks whilst maintaining a high degree of attention to detail.
4. Team working and proven experience of working on commercial fishing or research/survey vessels.

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants“. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Robert Kynoch or telephone 01312443360.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the recruitment team.

The post Vacancy: Fishing Gear Technologist, closing date 17 March appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Zooplankton Analyst, closing date 17 March

Wed, 2020-02-19 10:00

The main role of this post is to support the monitoring and research needs of the Ecology and Conservation Group at Marine Scotland Science in Aberdeen, currently made up of 12 people, through taxonomic analysis of zooplankton samples and field work. The post will also provide more general laboratory support.

The Ecology and Conservation Group provides ecological and conservation advice and underpinning science for the Environment Monitoring and Assessment, Planning and Environmental Advice and Coastal and Offshore Fisheries Programmes. The group provides advice on fishery closures, Good Environmental Status (GES) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and carries out ecological studies of macro-benthos, zooplankton and fish in order to support the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and the Scottish MPA Project. The group also answers questions about alien species, climate change impacts, fish movements and dynamics, vulnerability of priority marine species and trophic interactions.

Qualifications Required:

A qualification such as a HND or B.Sc. in biological or environmental science.
Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:

1. Experience identifying and enumerating marine zooplankton using light microscopy techniques.
2. Experience of fieldwork, performing sampling activities that can be applied to an inshore coastal ecosystem monitoring trip.
3. Experience compiling numeric data for inclusion in reports.
4. A methodological approach to work and good organisational skills, especially in a laboratory environment.

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Applicants“.  To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please email Dr Margarita Machairopoulou or call 0131 244 3213.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Recruitment@gov.scot.

The post Vacancy: Zooplankton Analyst, closing date 17 March appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Demersal Trawling with the Scotia

Mon, 2020-02-17 09:00

MRV Scotia Programme
Survey: 0320S
Duration: 16 February – 9 March 2020

Objectives:
  1. Demersal trawling survey of the grounds off the north and west of Scotland in ICES Subarea 6a.
  2. Obtain temperature and salinity data from the surface and seabed at each trawling station.
  3. Collect additional biological data in connection with the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF).
  4. Retrieval and re-deployment of COMPASS moorings located at discrete sites within the survey area.
Procedures:

General: A training haul will be undertaken during the passage north to ensure all fishing gear/sensors are working effectively. Scotia will then commence fishing operations the next morning on predefined stations off the north Scottish coast and west of 4’W with weather conditions thereafter determining the route taken on the survey.

Trawling: This is a random-stratified survey design with trawl stations being distributed within 10 predefined strata that cover ICES subarea 6A (see figure 1). A total of 62 primary and 45 secondary stations have been generated. The intention is for the 62 trawls to be undertaken on suitable ground as near to the primary station as is practicable.

Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Where possible, fishing operations will be restricted to daylight hours. In addition to the routine sampling, biological data and samples will be collected for target species in line with the EU data regulation and other external projects.

Hydrography: A Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) cast will be taken at each trawl station, weather permitting. Top and bottom temperatures will be reported and in addition, a calibration sample will be retained from the surface.

Compass Moorings: Six acoustic moorings were deployed at sites within the 0320S survey area during the second half of 2019. Two days have been allocated from this survey in order to retrieve and redeploy these.

An acoustic release system will be deployed from the vessel to trigger each mooring; this allows the mooring to surface, where it can be retrieved then re-deployed again.

Figure 2 0320S

Figure 2: 0320S – Location of Compass moorings

Figure 1 0320S

Figure 1. 0320S (SCOWCGFS-Q1) – 2020 ICES Subarea 6a Survey Strata showing primary (bold face) and secondary trawling stations (red dot – plain face).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further Information:

The post Demersal Trawling with the Scotia appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Smartfish H2020 collaborations

Fri, 2020-02-14 16:31

The third annual meeting of the EU H2020 SmartFish project has concluded in Aberdeen.

As highlighted in an earlier blog, SmartFish is an important collaborative four-year project on fishing technology, led by SINTEF (Norway) and featuring key contributions from Marine Scotland Science. The third annual project meeting was held 11-13 February in the Sir Ian Wood Building, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, and was attended by 41 scientists from six countries.

The three days of the meeting were organised thematically, with day one focussing on summaries of project progress, day two continuing with this but adding a vital session on Intellectual Property Rights (essential in a multinational project), and day three featuring further round-ups and planning for the next year of work.

Continued involvement in EU projects of this kind remains very important for Marine Scotland Science, and the welcoming address by Dr Coby Needle, Chief Fisheries Advisor for Scotland, emphasised this.

Reflecting on the meeting he said:

“We extended a warm welcome to our visitors to Aberdeen, on the coldest week of the winter so far, and I was very happy to be able to say that we are continuing to work with European partners on work of critical value to the people of Scotland.

“The principles of innovation underpinning the project remain core to us, and we will remain part of all EU Horizon 2020 projects under the same conditions as pertained prior to the UK leaving the EU. This particular project is led by Norway, a non-EU country, and of the 41 participants in the meeting, 29 were from non-EU countries. Fish aren’t constrained by geographical boundaries, and important fisheries science such as this should be similarly unfettered.

“Our hosts at the Robert Gordon University were very accommodating and helpful, and I am pleased to say that our overseas visitors appreciated both the excellent meeting facilities and location, and the warm Aberdonian welcome – despite some chilly weather.”

The post Smartfish H2020 collaborations appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Shellfish Stock Assessment Modeller, closing date 10 March

Fri, 2020-02-14 14:00

Salary: £29759 – £34087
Location: Aberdeen
Hours: Around 37.00 per week
Closing Date: 10 March 2020 at midnight
Reference: IRC82515E

 

We are currently seeking applications for a Shellfish Stock Assessment Modeller within Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen. This is a 24 month fixed term and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

The post of Shellfish Stock Assessment Modeller in the Stock Assessment and Modelling Group will play a key role in supporting the advice provided by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) to the Scottish Government. The post holder will be responsible for developing approaches (for data compilation and stock assessment) to be used in support of advice on sustainable shellfish fisheries management.

The Stock Assessment and Modelling Group is part of the wider Fisheries Assessment and Advice Programme within the Coastal and Offshore Fisheries Network of Marine Scotland Science, based at the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen. This post will report to the Stock Assessment and Modelling Group leader.

 

Qualifications Required: 

For jobs in Band B & C you must hold a minimum of 3 Highers or equivalent.

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

 

Essential Criteria:

1. Evidence of strong numeric ability with experience of applying mathematical models to environmental, biological or fishery systems.
2. Good computational skills with proven ability to programme in a high level language (such as R), particularly with respect to data manipulation and analysis.
3. Excellent communication skills with experience of preparing reports.
4. Strong planning and organisational skills, able to manage their own workload and prioritise effectively, dealing with competing demands.

 

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants“. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Helen Dobby who can be reached at Helen.Dobby@gov.scot or 01312443001.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the recruitment team via recruitment@gov.scot.

The post Vacancy: Shellfish Stock Assessment Modeller, closing date 10 March appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Senior Marine Ornithologist, closing date 10 March

Fri, 2020-02-14 10:00

Salary: £37418 – £45241
Location: Aberdeen/Edinburgh
Hours: Around 37.00 per week
Closing Date: 10 March 2020 at midnight
Reference: IRC81300E

We are currently seeking applications for a Senior Marine Ornithologist within Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen or Edinburgh. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

The post-holder will work in the Renewable Energy Environmental Advice (REEA) group at Marine Scotland Science (MSS) to contribute to achieving Scottish Government goals for marine renewable energy and for protecting the marine environment.

The post provides specialist advice on marine birds to Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) to support the assessment of environmental impacts of marine renewable and construction developments, and the provision of advice to Marine Scotland’s Policy and Planning Division (MPPD) in support of renewable energy policy, marine environment policy and on Marine Protected Areas (including Special Protection Areas). The advice provided is placed into the context of the interactions of marine bird populations and licenced marine activities, and the legislation and regulatory processes that are relevant to marine birds in Scotland.

The successful candidate will be expected to work independently, coordinate their work programme with the existing B3 Senior Ornithologist and other staff within REEA, and gain input from more senior staff where appropriate e.g. when critical issues have been identified and for QA.

To underpin the advice provided, they must ensure that they are familiar with the best available science through maintaining a working knowledge of best practice and detailed knowledge of marine bird ecology.

Qualifications Required:

Post-graduate degree in a relevant biology subject or equivalent experience such as successfully delivering similar duties to those required of the Senior Marine Ornithologist post holder, or relevant research on seabirds.

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:

1. A good understanding of seabird biology and regulation, legislation and research relating to marine birds in Scottish and European waters. Including a good understanding of ornithology assessment tools used in environmental assessments for collision risk modelling, displacement assessment, and population viability analyses.
2. Demonstrable data analysis and statistical skills, using specialist statistical software, such as R or Matlab.
3. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills and the ability to prioritise workload.
4. Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences, maintain good working relationships and proactively support colleagues.

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants“. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Jared Wilson who can be reached on jared.wilson@gov.scot.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact HR Resourcing on 0131 244 8500 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

The post Vacancy: Senior Marine Ornithologist, closing date 10 March appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Marine Mammal Biologist, closing date 5 March

Thu, 2020-02-13 09:00

Salary: £29759 – £34087
Location: Aberdeen
Hours: Around 37.00 per week
Closing Date: 5 March 2020 at midnight
Reference: IRC81419E

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Mammal Biologist within the Directorate for Marine Scotland Science (MSS) based in Aberdeen. This is a 12 month fixed term and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

The post-holder will work alongside the REEA staff at MSS to contribute to achieving Scottish Government goals for marine renewable energy and for protecting the marine environment. This will be achieved through contributing to the provision of advice to MS-LOT on interactions between marine mammals and the emerging marine renewable energy industries, and to MSPPD on marine mammal conservation issues. The post will also contribute to ongoing marine mammal research projects that involve the collection, processing and analyses of acoustic data. These activities will be placed into the context of the interactions of marine mammal populations and anthropogenic activities, and of the legislation that is relevant to marine mammals in Scotland.

To underpin advice, the post-holder will help to ensure that the best available science is incorporated into MSS activities and outputs. This will include the evaluation of the applicability of new methodologies relevant to marine mammals, and contributing to the commissioning and management of external research contracts.

The post-holder will need to be able to maintain and develop productive networks with relevant staff in external organisations, including SNH, JNCC, and academia. These networks will enable the post-holder to understand major developments in the scientific field, but there will also be a requirement to ensure that they continue to develop their skills and knowledge through understanding the relevant literature and continuous professional development. This will be a varied and interesting post in a highly applied scientific field, which will be suited to someone who enjoys a high level of autonomy and has the ability to successfully handle competing priorities.

 

Qualifications Required:

For jobs in Band B & C you must hold a minimum of 3 Highers or equivalent.

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

 

Essential Criteria:

1. A good understanding of marine mammal biology.
2. Demonstrable data analysis and statistical skills, using specialist statistical software, such as R or Matlab.
3. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills and effectively manage projects.
4. Demonstrable experience of collecting, processing, analysing, and reporting on marine mammal passive acoustic or distribution, abundance of behavioural data.

 

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification“. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Ross Culloch by email or at 0131 244 3749.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Emma Crawford on 0131 244 5656 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

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Testing technology in the fishing sector

Wed, 2020-02-12 09:42

An international research project that is developing, testing and promoting new technology systems in the fishing sector is being trialled in Scottish waters by Marine Scotland scientists.

Now in its third year, the Smartfish H2020 project, which is funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 fund and coordinated by the Norwegian research institute SINTEF Ocean, will be testing automated technologies that recognise, identify and counts fish in video footage from cameras on fishing boats.

Smartfish H2020 partners will discuss priorities for the third year of work, including how Marine Scotland plans on testing the technology in Scotland over the next two years, at a meeting in Aberdeen February 11 – 13.

Alongside this work to recognise, identify and count fish in video footage from cameras, Marine Scotland scientists have also been investigating the effects of light on the behaviour of different species of fish.

The Computer Vision System automatically identifying some whiting as they pass along a conveyor belt.

By steering them into different parts of the net, the fish may encounter other measures like ‘square mesh panels’ or sorting grids which can help smaller fish or less desirable species to escape.

Dr Coby Needle, Chief Fisheries Advisor for Scotland said:

“Over the last ten years Marine Scotland has been a leader in the field of using machine learning to recognise, identify and count fish in video footage from cameras.

“Using computers to automate the process in this way is a great step forward as it is quite a time consuming task for staff to go through and review videos manually.

“By using cameras we have to send fewer staff to sea on fishing vessels, which saves money and exposes them to less risk.”

Smartfish H2020

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Tue, 2020-02-11 09:00

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is an opportunity for us to put the spotlight on some of the great work that’s going on in Marine Scotland Science.

This year’s big day also marks the first since we were awarded the Bronze Award by the Athena SWAN Charter as part of our work to tackle gender inequalities in science and engineering.

The Award recognises work undertaken to address gender equality in Higher Education and Research Institutes.

Dr Carey Fraser who leads on diversity and inclusion within Marine Scotland Science said:

“It is clear that more diverse teams perform better and produce better science. The science in Marine Scotland provides key evidence, information and functions for Scottish Government.

“There is an incredibly wide range of scientific work here that requires many STEM disciplines to sample, analyse and research our seas and rivers, and the habitats, animals and plants within them. We need a diverse range of skills and people to work on research vessel surveys, at rivers, and in our laboratories, to carry out the detailed biological, chemical, physical and mathematical analysis of samples and data that provides information of international significance with direct impact on marine management in Scotland and globally.”Berit Rabe_Scotia trip

Dr Berit Rabe is a physical oceanographer who has been working in Marine Scotland for around nine and a half years.

She works with oceanographic field data and hydrodynamic model outputs to understand the dynamics and circulations of sea lochs and the coastal regions around Scotland and to investigate sea lice dispersal.  She said:

“One of my proudest moments was becoming the designated female Scientist in Charge (SiC) for the December hydrographic research cruise to the northern North Sea and the Faroe-Shetland-Channel. This involves organising logistics before and after the cruise, ensuring we are achieving our scientific objectives, and leading the scientists at sea. I’ve enjoyed this role so much I’ve now been SiC taken on this role six times.

“It’s also been really incredible to be part of the team that achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award. Before the Athena SWAN Working Group was established there was no clear official route for staff to take on the role as SiC or gain experience to help them progress. Now I am helping to implement a process for training and progression that is assisting junior staff members, regardless of gender, to gain the experience they need to progress in their scientific discipline.”

Dr Faye Jackson has been working for Marine Scotland Science for nearly two years after being based at the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry during her PhD.

Her work is focused on understanding and predicting river temperature to identify where our famous salmon rivers are at risk due to climate change and developing tools and advice to support management decisions.  She said:

“Working at the Freshwater Fisheries Lab is a really interesting job, I’m constantly learning and looking for ways to take what can be a complicated story and distil it down to something that is accessible to people. It involves such a broad range of skills – analysing complicated data, making maps and making visual summaries which can then help river managers and others make decisions.  One of the benefits of being a scientist in the Scottish Government is getting to work on large scale projects that do have a genuine impact and have wider policy implications. With increases in river temperatures as a result of climate change, work which can underpin evidence-based management of the freshwater environment and protect iconic fish like salmon is even more crucial.”

More reading:

Dr Jessica Craig – Fisheries Population Modeller
Dr Berit Rabe – Physical Oceanographer
Pam Walsham -Senior Environmental Chemist 
Dr Faye Jackson – Salmon Assessment Modeller
Dr Rebecca Langton – Species Distribution Modeller

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Assessing Plankton in the UK

Mon, 2020-02-03 09:00

Two scientists from Marine Scotland Science (MSS), Dr Eileen Bresnan and Dr Margarita Machairopoulou, have been involved in the first ever assessment of the status of the plankton community in UK waters.

Led by the University of Plymouth, scientists from all around the UK joined together to share their datasets and knowledge to fill in some of the scientific gaps and understand change in pelagic habitats. The collective expertise of the group was critical in producing and interpreting the results.

Key to this assessment is the development of a new plankton lifeform indicator tool which enables assessment of pelagic habitat plankton diversity, regardless of sampling methods. There are thousands of phytoplankton and zooplankton species in UK waters – for this analysis they are collated into functional groups, called lifeforms, that perform similar functions in the ecosystem or have similar biochemical characteristics and lifecycles. Examples of lifeforms are: diatoms/dinoflagellates (silicate/flagellated microalgae) and holoplankton/meroplankton (animals that spend whole/part of their lifecycle in the water column).

This map shows the location of the different plankton monitoring programmes that were included in the assessment. Data from the MSS Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs) stations has made a key contribution to this study, particularly in the data poor areas on the west coast of Scotland. The SCObs monitoring sites at Stonehaven and Loch Ewe represent two of the three monitoring sites in the UK (L4 off Plymouth) where coastal zooplankton are monitored.

The main findings from the ICEGRAPH Project include:
  1. That the plankton community in UK waters has exhibited profound changes in distribution and abundance. For example, meroplankton (plankton who spend only part of their life cycle in the water column e.g. the larvae of star fish, sea urchins) are showing an increasing trend in abundance in both coastal and offshore areas around the UK. While diatoms (a type of microscopic algae) are increasing only in the northern North Sea (including areas around Orkney and Shetland), as well as the south east of England. However, some life forms e.g. dinoflagellates (another type of microscopic algae) show different trends between coastal (increasing) and offshore (decreasing) areas.
  2. These changes in the plankton community can impact energy flow in the marine food web to higher trophic levels (e.g. shifts in the balance between the abundances of small and large copepods (small crustaceans) can potentially alter the quality of food available to fish). The impacts of these changes on commercial fish stocks require investigation.
  3. Some of these changes have been linked to sea surface temperature (SST), which has warmed around the UK. SST has been used as a proxy for climate change as other physical/biological factors such as water column stability/ prey availability which can influence plankton abundances are also influenced by warming temperatures.

 

Further Information:
  •  The ICEGRAPH Project is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
  • Plankton are organisms that live and drift in the water column. Phytoplankton are microscopic single celled algae. They occupy the base of the marine food web using the energy from sunlight to produce carbohydrates and releasing oxygen via the process called photosynthesis. Phytoplankton are ecologically important. They are a major food source for zooplankton, act as a carbon sink by taking up CO2 dissolved in the water and producing 50% of the earth’s oxygen. Zooplankton are animals with sizes that range from microscopic (e.g. star fish larvae) to visible with the naked eye (e.g. jellyfish). They feed on phytoplankton and some on other zooplankton. Zooplankton, in turn, are preyed on by fish larvae some of which have a high commercial importance such as cod and herring. Thus energy from phytoplankton is passed up the food web.
  • The water above the seabed is called the pelagic habitat. It is really important to be able to assess the status of the plankton in the pelagic habitat as it allows the detection of change that could potentially impact higher trophic levels and negatively impact the marine ecosystem.
  • Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs) topic sheet
  • SCObs report
  • North Atlantic Fisheries College
  • Orkney Harbour Authority
  • Improving Confidence Evaluating GES for Regional Assessments of Pelagic Habitats (ICEGRAPH)

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Recent Decrease in Ocean Salinity in the North Atlantic Waters off Scotland

Fri, 2020-01-31 11:52

Research published in Nature Communications this week has investigated the recent, large reduction in salinity measurements in the North Atlantic Ocean. Evidence of this surface salinity change includes the time series collected by Marine Scotland Science in the Faroe-Shetland Channel.

Scientists observed the freshening event over a large region of the North Atlantic, extending from waters to the west of the UK to Iceland in 2016. For some of the observational time series, the measured salinities were the lowest since records began in the late 19th century. In the Faroe-Shetland Channel, lower salinities were observed during the Great Salinity Anomaly in the 1970s, which was caused by increased freshwater transport through Fram Strait (the passage between Greenland and Svalbard) and winds driving increased freshwater transport from the Greenland shelves.

Observed salinities in the North Atlantic Water in the Faroe-Shetland Channel, collected by Marine Scotland Science. The colour of the bars corresponds to the standardised anomaly relative to the 1981-2010 average (as mean) and standard deviation. The observed salinity is plotted as a bar from the 1981-2010 average salinity (35.387).

The recent salinity change has a different mechanism and was caused by abnormal wind patterns driving Arctic freshwater from the Labrador Current (close to the Canadian continental shelf) into the North Atlantic Current. This current transports waters from the North American region of the Atlantic Ocean towards the UK coast. It is an important influence on environmental conditions in the waters off the Scottish West Coast. This work shows that understanding changes in the circulation further westward in the subpolar North Atlantic provide important context for conditions in our region.

The Great Salinity Anomaly of the 1970s impacted the ecosystem productivity in our region. Some of the authors of this study are currently considering the impact of this recent freshening event on the biological productivity.

Caption for Main Feature Image: Map showing the average surface circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean, arrows show surface current vectors (coloured by strength). The schematic representation of the major currents is overlain in red (in deep water) and yellow (continental shelf). North Atlantic Current (NAC), East Reykjanes Ridge Current (ERRC) East Greenland Current (EGC), West Greenland Current (WGC), Labrador Current (LC) and Mann Eddy (ME). From Holliday et al., 2020.

Further Information

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