Marine Scotland Blog

Subscribe to Marine Scotland Blog feed Marine Scotland Blog
Scottish Government Blog
Updated: 1 hour 13 min ago

ECOMASS Moorings on East Coast

Sat, 2019-11-16 10:00

MRV Alba na Mara Programme

Survey: 2019A

Duration: 15-26 November 2019

Gear: Surface and subsurface PAM moorings

Objectives:

To retrieve 24 subsurface moorings comprising acoustic release systems and the acoustic recording devices attached to them (24 C-POD and 8 Loggerhead/SM2M) as part of three marine mammal monitoring programmes (ECOMMAS, JOMOPANS & SEAGREEN).

To deploy 11 subsurface moorings comprising acoustic release systems and the acoustic recording devices attached to them (11 CPOD and 11 Loggerhead/SM2M) as part of four marine mammal monitoring programmes (ECOMMAS, JOMOPANS, SEAGREEN & NNG). See Table 1-4 and Figure 1-3.

Procedure:

Loading of all equipment will be carried out on 12 November when the previous survey (1919A) returns to Fraserburgh. Weather permitting, Alba na Mara will sail from Fraserburgh on the morning of 15 November and make for the first mooring position. The ultimate order in which the moorings are retrieved/deployed will be decided by the skipper in conjunction with the SIC, and dictated by the weather forecast.

It may be necessary for Alba na Mara to make a partial unloading of retrieved moorings and equipment to ensure enough available space on the vessel. If this is the case the vessel will visit the most suitable port depending on her location at the time.

Alba na Mara will dock in Leith on 26 November to unload and allow the scientific staff to disembark and return to Aberdeen.

 

Table 1: Geographic position of all 19 JOMOPANS & ECOMMAS moorings to be recovered. Location Latitude Longitude Sound recorder? JOMOPANS 1 58.57487 -2.119471 Y Fraserburgh 5 57.711263 -2.130103   Fraserburgh 10 57.770775 -2.141328   Fraserburgh 15 57.849141 -2.089825   Cruden Bay 5 57.380185 -1.828393 Y Cruden Bay 10 57.380146 -1.738071   Cruden Bay 15 57.376868 -1.61793   Stonehaven 15 56.98059 -2.021736   Stonehaven 10 56.959511 -2.113503   Stonehaven 5 56.947156 -2.177253 Y Arbroath 5 56.554018 -2.483356   Arbroath 10 56.499815 -2.37981 Y Arbroath 15 56.459636 -2.29853   St Andrews 15 56.29004 -2.433171   St Andrews 5 56.265265 -2.571761   St Andrews 10 56.258365 -2.501598 Y St Abbs 15 56.033338 -2.075373   St Abbs 10 55.963473 -2.161845   St Abbs 5 55.92919 -2.177058 Y

 

 

Table 2: Geographic position of 3 ECOMMAS and JOMOPANS moorings to be deployed during 2019A. All moorings are to be subsurface for either acoustic release or ROV recovery. Location Latitude Longitude JOMOPANS 1 58.57487 -2.119471 Helmsdale 15 57.975698 -3.535645 Arbroath 10 56.499815 -2.37981

 

 

Table 3: Geographic position of all 5 Seagreen moorings to be retrieved and deployed. Location Latitude Longitude Seagreen 1 56.762417 -2.354677 Seagreen 2 56.715833 -2.182717 Seagreen 3 56.66115 -2.0091 Seagreen 4 56.610017 -1.836017 Seagreen 5 56.554683 -1.667317

 

 

Table 4: Geographic position of all 4 NNG moorings to be deployed. C-POD location Coordinates (degrees, decimal minutes) Coordinates (decimal degrees) Latitude Longitude Latitude Longitude NNG1 2° 19.162′ W 56° 17.882′ N -2.319357 56.298024 NNG2 2° 15.226′ W 56° 15.122′ N -2.25376 56.252025 NNG3 2° 10.001′ W 56° 16.341′ N -2.166681 56.272344 NNG4 2° 5.426′ W 56° 16.171′ N -2.090425 56.269518

 

Figure 1: Geographic position of 19 ECOMMAS & JOMOPANS moorings to be retrieved in November 2019. Winter mooring to be deployed at Arbroath

Figure 2: Locations of the 5 SSE Seagreen moorings to be retrieved and deployed

Figure 3: Locations of the 4 NNG moorings to be deployed.

 

Further Information:

The post ECOMASS Moorings on East Coast appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Sampling with Sir John

Tue, 2019-11-12 10:00
MRV Sir John Murray Programme

Survey: 0119SJM

Duration: 11-19 November 2019

Sampling Gear:
  • 2 m beam trawl with 50 mm cod-end – Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Demersal trawl with 50 mm cod-end – SEPA
  • Day grab and table – SEPA
  • Catamaran and neuston net – Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
  • Nisken water bottle – MSS
Objectives:
  1. Undertake flatfish, sediment and water sampling in the Firth of Clyde and Solway Firth in support of the Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (OSPAR Commission and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD D8).
  2. Prepare fish samples for subsequent eco-toxicological analyses (biological effects).
  3. Embark on survey of seabed litter and sea-surface litter in the Firth of Clyde and Solway Firth (MSFD D10).
  4. Carry out fish, shellfish, water and sediment sampling in support of the Scottish Government (SG) microplastics research project (ROAME ST014).
Procedure Sediment Sampling

Sediment sampling will be carried out in three water bodies in the Firth of Clyde and one in the Solway Firth (Table 1 and Figure 1). At each water body, there are five or six locations for sampling. At each location two surface (0-2 cm) sediment samples will be collected by Day grab, one for contaminant analysis and one for microplastic analysis.

Figure 1: Location of intended sediment sampling locations

Water sampling

Water sampling will take place at each of the six fishing sites (Table 2, Figure 2) before fishing has commenced. The ship’s sea water pump will be used to collect the water samples. At the first two stations, Nisken bottle water sampling will be taken in addition for data comparison. Water samples will be taken for nutrients and salinity.

A single ten litre water sample will also be taken from the inner firth for Robert Gordon University (RGU) as part of an ad-hoc arrangement through the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) consortium.

Fish Sampling

Figure 2: Location of intended fishing locations in the Clyde

Flatfish (dab, plaice or flounder) will be collected for determination of disease status, contaminant concentrations and contaminant-induced biological effects from the Solway, Bowling, Holy Loch, Hunterston, Garroch Head and Pladda fishing stations (Table 2 and Figure 2). Fish sample preparation for subsequent analysis will also take place on board (Table 3).

In addition, extra samples will be taken for preparation of EROD (ethoxyresorufin-o-deethylase) laboratory reference material. Bycatch (Nephrops, crabs, whiting and haddock) from the fishing trawls will be sampled adventitiously for determination of microplastics in gill and stomach contents. Benthic macrolitter collected during trawling will also be identified, quantified and recorded.

The catamaran neuston net will be towed at five knots in order to survey and sample sea-surface litter from various locations (see Table 4). Priority areas for sampling include Loch Long and the Solway. If time allows, microplastic analysis may be carried out on board.

Table 1: Intended sediment sampling locations

Table 2: Intended fishing locations and fish requirements

Table 3: Fish sample preparation requirements

Table 4: Possible catamaran neuston trawl locations with priority areas.

Further details in attached map. Cat tows are at 5 kn for 30 min unless otherwise stated.

Table 5: Latitude and longitude limits for sediment and fishing sites (extracted from Station dictionary Oct 2017) (decimal) Table 5: Latitude and longitude limits for sediment and fishing sites (extracted from Station dictionary Oct 2017) (Degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS))

Further Information:

The post Sampling with Sir John appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Demeral Trawling Survey on the West Coast

Wed, 2019-11-06 10:00

MRV Scotia
Survey 1719S

 

Duration: 4 – 25 November 2019

 

Fishing Gear: GOV Trawl (BT137) and ground gear D (hoppers).

 

Objectives:
  1. To participate in the ICES coordinated western division demersal trawling survey.
  2. To obtain temperature and salinity data profiles at each trawling position.
  3. To collect additional biological data in connection with the EU data collection framework (DCF).
  4. Retrieval and redeployment of Compass mooring at Stanton Bank deployed during previous survey.

 

Procedures:

Scotia will sail on 4 November and (after all safety drills & shakedown trawling) commence fishing operations the following morning on stations to the west of the Orkneys. Weather conditions at the time will determine the exact start area. Survey schedule and operations will be decided by SIC after daily consultation with Fishing Master and Captain.

Figure 1. 1719S trawl locations. Note – tow positions for each core station (solid circle) and alternative/additional positions (empty circles) will be added as time allows.

Trawling:

This is a random-stratified survey design with trawl stations being distributed within 12 predefined strata covering the sampling area (Figure 1). A more detailed map showing the Clyde trawl stations in relation to the underwater cable installed in 2017 is provided in Figure 2. A total of 60 primary and 38 secondary stations have been generated. The intention is for 60 trawls to be undertaken on suitable ground as near to the specified primary sampling positions (Table 1) as is practicable, and where possible within a radius of five nautical miles of the sampling position. In the event that trawling is not possible within 5 nm of any primary station then the nearest appropriate secondary station will be used. Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Where possible, fishing operations will be restricted to daylight hours. Exact start and finish times will vary slightly according to geographical location.

Figure 2. Detailed map showing Clyde stations in relation to cable installed in 2017. Note – The blue line shows the location of the deep-water cable installed in 2017 and the red dotted line shows the ± 1.5 nmi safety area around the cable.

The Scanmar system will be used to monitor the headline height, wing spread and door spread for each haul. Bottom contact data from each trawl will also be collected using the NOAA bottom contact sensor, which will be mounted on a bar in the middle of the ground-gear. In addition to the routine sampling, biological data will be collected for target species in line with the EU data regulation.

 

Fish Sampling:

All fish will be processed in accordance with the protocols as described in the Manual of the IBTS North Eastern Atlantic Surveys. Series of ICES Survey Protocols SISP 15. 92 pp. http://doi.org/10.17895/ices.pub.3519.

 

Hydrography Sampling:

CTD casts will be taken at each trawl station, weather permitting.

 

Compass Moorings:

During the survey one day will be allocated to the retrieval and redeployment of two acoustic moorings deployed during a previous survey. The intention is to undertake this objective during Part 1 of the survey with an acoustic release system being deployed from the vessels side deck to trigger the moorings.

 

Table 1: 1719S – Position of primary sampling stations.

Station lat lon deglat deglon stratum 1 58.96247 -4.607729 5857.75N 0436.46W green1 2 59.3044 -4.30137 5918.26N 0418.08W green1 3 59.25443 -4.732363 5915.27N 0443.94W green1 4 59.28047 -5.119988 5916.83N 0507.20W green1 5 59.63196 -4.834488 5937.92N 0450.07W windsock 6 60.03191 -4.545194 6001.91N 0432.71W red1 7 59.48743 -5.328187 5929.25N 0519.69W windsock 8 59.50362 -5.699959 5930.22N 0542.00W windsock 9 59.64184 -6.193042 5938.51N 0611.58W red1 10 59.48501 -6.576728 5929.10N 0634.60W red1 11 59.21047 -6.160272 5912.63N 0609.62W windsock 12 58.74089 -6.429035 5844.45N 0625.74W green1 13 58.92074 -6.565814 5855.24N 0633.95W green1 14 58.96038 -6.969687 5857.62N 0658.18W green1 15 58.9769 -7.473466 5858.61N 0728.41W red1 16 58.2913 -7.32209 5817.48N 0719.33W green1 17 58.58162 -7.988137 5834.90N 0759.29W red1 18 58.39124 -8.466181 5823.47N 0827.97W red1 19 58.5036 -8.70768 5830.22N 0842.46W red1 20 58.20023 -8.886268 5812.01N 0853.18W red1 21 57.66401 -8.378741 5739.84N 0822.72W green2 22 57.62313 -9.37477 5737.39N 0922.49W red1 23 57.16478 -9.20848 5709.89N 0912.51W red2 24 57.07604 -8.903222 5704.56N 0854.19W red2 25 56.77223 -8.283156 5646.33N 0816.99W green2 26 56.59257 -8.842584 5635.55N 0850.56W red2 27 56.33942 -8.96371 5620.37N 0857.82W red2 28 55.88948 -9.045951 5553.37N 0902.76W red2 29 55.69321 -8.855828 5541.59N 0851.35W red2 30 55.16835 -9.2548 5510.10N 0915.29W red2 31 55.20564 -9.972894 5512.34N 0958.37W red2 32 55.05976 -9.784037 5503.59N 0947.04W red2 33 54.96405 -9.499039 5457.84N 0929.94W green4 34 54.7919 -9.428163 5447.51N 0925.69W green4 35 54.47329 -10.444974 5428.40N 1026.70W gray 36 54.29499 -10.352855 5417.70N 1021.17W gray 37 54.413 -9.131841 5424.78N 0907.91W gray 38 54.4843 -8.792802 5429.06N 0847.57W gray 39 54.86623 -8.753432 5451.97N 0845.21W red2 40 55.47931 -8.700307 5528.76N 0842.02W red2 41 55.7661 -8.204705 5545.97N 0812.28W green3 42 55.66018 -7.7588 5539.61N 0745.53W green3 43 55.48171 -7.402395 5528.90N 0724.14W red2 44 55.73953 -7.248396 5544.37N 0714.90W green3 45 55.20804 -5.705191 5512.48N 0542.31W blue2 46 55.19889 -4.993599 5511.93N 0459.62W clyde 47 55.36414 -5.306141 5521.85N 0518.37W clyde 48 55.5974 -4.982199 5535.84N 0458.93W clyde 49 56.1898 -6.032125 5611.39N 0601.93W blue2 50 56.10104 -7.45851 5606.06N 0727.51W green3 51 56.21185 -7.819209 5612.71N 0749.15W green3 52 56.37653 -7.55737 5622.59N 0733.44W lightblue 53 56.57917 -7.905759 5634.75N 0754.35W lightblue 54 56.66497 -7.208751 5639.90N 0712.53W lightblue 55 56.60989 -6.868622 5636.59N 0652.12W lightblue 56 57.43943 -6.883278 5726.37N 0653.00W lightblue 57 57.64108 -6.700875 5738.46N 0642.05W blue1 58 57.95637 -6.064734 5757.38N 0603.88W blue1 59 58.03786 -5.631351 5802.27N 0537.88W blue1 60 58.72933 -4.18985 5843.76N 0411.39W green1

 

 

Additional Information:

The post Demeral Trawling Survey on the West Coast appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Gear Selectivity in the Moray Firth

Tue, 2019-11-05 10:00

MRV Alba na Mara
Survey 1919A

 

Duration: 4 – 12 November 2019

 

Gear:
Trawl BT201; Net mounted camera system; Scanmar instrumentation; Seltra box incorporating a 300mm square mesh panel

 

Objectives:
To undertake catch comparison trials using a Seltra sorting box rigged into the extension of the BT201. Target species will be commercial gadoids, nephrops, commercial flatfish, and anglerfish.

 

Procedure:
The Seltra sorting box consists of a four panel extension piece incorporating an escape window (in this case a 300 mm square mesh panel) into the top section. This four panel design helps to maintain good clearance between the bottom panel and the escape window. The Seltra is designed to reduce unwanted bycatch of whitefish while maintaining catches of nephrops.

 

The Seltra box will be provided ready rigged into a suitable extension piece with an 80mm codend attached. A count of the meshes round will be made at the joining point of this piece. This will be joined 1:1 at the appropriate point located in the taper of the BT201 with any section requiring cut away being retained for re-joining at the end of the cruise. If possible following rigging onto the BT201 the Seltra box and extension will be laid out on the harbourside for initial measuring and photographing.

 

Preferred area of operation will be on mixed prawn/fish grounds in the Moray Firth. This however will be open to discussion with the skipper and exact grounds will be decided following these. Trawl area will focus on consistently obtaining a range of gadoid species (haddock, whiting cod) plus nephrops. Discussions will take into account the working practices of the vessel.

 

Initial operations (approx 2 days) will focus on obtaining camera footage of the rigging of the Seltra box and of whitefish behaviour at the escape window itself.

 

Following successful completion of the camera work MSS engineering staff will depart the vessel and operations will switch to trawl catch comparison. The trawl will be fished with the Seltra box in place where the square mesh panel is alternatively covered / uncovered with a section of 80mm diamond mesh. This will provide multiple sets of paired hauls allowing a combined comparison of catch rates over time. At the end of each haul the catch will be sorted by species and measured.

 

To better enable comparison, variance between hauls will be kept to a minimum. All hauls will be undertaken in full daylight, avoiding times of dusk and dawn, and as far as possible all hauls will be undertaken in the same area. Ideally two sets of two hauls will be undertaken each fishing day and projected haul duration will take both this and the amount of work associated with sorting and measuring the catch into account.

 

Further Information:

The post Gear Selectivity in the Moray Firth appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on Marine Food Webs

Tue, 2019-10-29 08:30

Three researchers (T. Regnier, F. M. Gibb and P. J. Wright) from Marine Scotland Science (MSS) have had their paper entitled “Understanding temperature effects on recruitment in the context of trophic mismatch” published in the journal Scientific Reports.  The paper looks to address the impacts of climate change in Scotland’s marine environment and fish stocks.

The study explores the effect of temperature changes on the interaction between sandeel, a key forage fish for seabirds and marine mammals, and their copepod prey in Scottish waters. Anticipating the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and fish stocks requires the identification of mechanisms that affect food webs.

In fish, the larval period can be a critical life-stage that determines the strength of recruitment to the stock. For species, like sandeel, that hatch in winter early survival appears dependent on initial food availability and, hence, the degree of synchrony with their prey.

The authors used a modelling approach incorporating MSS data to predict the likely consequences of two distinct climate change scenarios on this key marine food chain interaction. The data used originated from the our Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs) monitoring site at Stonehaven, and from yearly winter assessment surveys conducted on our Marine Research Vessel (MRV) Alba na Mara.

Speaking of a particular highlight in the paper, lead author Thomas Regnier said: “This research sheds new light on the way that temperature affects recruitment in sandeels; where temperature acts indirectly on food availability, as opposed to a simple direct effect of temperature on sandeel recruitment.”

Further Information:

The post Exploring the Effects of Climate Change on Marine Food Webs appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Collecting Cameras and Grabbing Samples

Mon, 2019-10-28 08:00
MRV Scotia

Survey: 1619S

Duration: 26 October – 1 November 2019

Equipment:

Day grab; sieve table; time lapse cameras and associated moorings, acoustic device mooring with broadband receiver.

Objectives:
  1. Recover the time lapse cameras used to assess the macro benthic ecology of drill cuttings around the Murchison oil field.
  2. Deploy an acoustic mooring at approximately 60 NM east of Arbroath for Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise North Sea (JOMOPANS) Project.
  3. Undertake grab sampling to assess carbon content on the sediment samples captured.
Procedure

MRV Scotia will depart from Aberdeen Harbour and make passage to the decommissioned Murchison platform. The completion of the survey work will be heavily dependent on the prevailing weather conditions encountered and a daily plan will be agreed between the Scientist-in-Charge (SIC), Captain and Fishing Master.

Time Lapse Camera

Six time lapse cameras deployed during survey 0619S in April 2019 will be collected from the seabed. One of the seven initially deployed cameras has already been collected.

Acoustic Mooring Deployment

An acoustic mooring will be deployed approximately 60 NM due east of Arbroath. This mooring is composed of an anchoring chain, an acoustic release device for its retrieval and two sound recording devices.

Grab Samples

Grab samples of surface sediments will be collected to be sampled for carbon content. Grabs will be taken at regular intervals during steaming activity to assess the changes in sediment carbon content in relation to distance from land.  A cluster of grabs will be done in the Firth of Forth area if time allows.

Hydrographic Sampling

Surface water parameters will be monitored and recorded constantly with the ship’s thermosalinograph. Water samples will be taken from the same locations where grab sampling will be done.

 

Further Information:

 

The post Collecting Cameras and Grabbing Samples appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Ocean Acidification and the Damage it can Cause

Mon, 2019-10-21 14:00

Dr Pablo Leon Diaz, Plankton Ecologist in Marine Scotland Science, has just had a paper “Relationship between shell integrity of pelagic gastropods and carbonate chemistry parameters at a Scottish Coastal Observatory monitoring site” published in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.

The paper presents the first investigation of the impacts of ocean acidification on shell-forming plankton in Scottish coastal waters. Shells of marine snails (pteropods and the pelagic larvae of otherwise benthic gastropods), collected at our Stonehaven monitoring site were examined, and the relationship with ocean acidification (pH and carbonate concentration) investigated. Ocean acidification results from the increased absorption of anthropogenic CO2 from the atmosphere by the sea.

Figure 1: Electron microscope image showing the detail of a Type III dissolution due to ocean acidification of the shell of a microscopic animal (planktonic gastropod).

Ms Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, welcomed the paper and noted “the publication of this paper shows how Marine Scotland Science is leading the science needed to understand and address the impacts of ocean acidification in Scotland’s marine environment”.

Commenting on the research Dr Leon Diaz noted “this study presents evidence of damage to shell-forming plankton in Scottish coastal waters, associated with changes in the carbonate chemistry parameters. It shows that ocean acidification, which has been seen in the world’s oceans, can also affect us here in Scotland .”

Led by Dr Leon Diaz, the research team included scientists from the USA, the Netherlands, University of Aberdeen, National Oceanographic Centre of Southampton as well as a number of scientists from Marine Scotland Science. As part of an international expert workshop Dr Leon Diaz also contributed to a publication looking at the descriptors used to determine the impacts ocean acidification on pteropods which was recently published in the scientific journal Frontiers of Marine Science.

Further Information:

The post Ocean Acidification and the Damage it can Cause appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Marine Mammals, Sediment Sampling and Looking for a Missing Buoy

Mon, 2019-10-21 10:30
MRV Alba na Mara

Survey: 1819A

Duration: 21 – 31 October 2019

Objectives:
  1. Recover and redeploy marine mammal monitoring moorings with acoustic releases, at eight sites in the Sea of the Hebrides and North Minch.
  2. Collect sediment samples at a number of sites south of Skye.
  3. Attempt to locate and recover ‘missing’ buoy close to Eilean Liubhaird, Isle of Lewis (57⁰ 58 N, 6⁰ 23 W).
Operations

Survey 1819A will recover and redeploy an underwater noise and marine mammal monitoring mooring array,  which is collecting data for the EU INTERREG VA COMPASS and MarPAMM projects funded by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Once the Alba na Mara sails from Troon the vessel will head for the first mooring location at North Islay and work in a Northerly direction thereafter. Survey operations will take place between the hours of 07:00 and 19:00. Stations will be serviced depending on the prevailing weather conditions i.e. if wind strengths or wave heights are adverse, a precautionary approach will be adopted.

Sediment sampling with the Day Grab will be undertaken South of Skye.

An attempt to locate and recover a ‘missing’ buoy close to Eilean Liubhaird, Isle of Lewis (57⁰ 58 N, 6⁰ 23 W) will be undertaken (weather permitting).  This buoy was deployed in 2017 and previous attempts to recover it have failed.

Table 1. Table of mooring locations (shown below)

Figure 2: A typical mooring (shown below).

 

Further Information:

 

The post Marine Mammals, Sediment Sampling and Looking for a Missing Buoy appeared first on Marine Scotland.

The Wonders Found when Deepwater Sampling – #1419S Survey Update

Fri, 2019-10-18 14:00

Marine Scotland has undertaken its biannual trawl survey of the shelf slope to the west of the Hebrides. The purpose of the survey is to map the composition, distribution and abundance of continental slope species from the Donegal area to the Flannan isles providing catch data that informs management decisions.

The initial part of the survey focussed on the Hebridean Shelf, where Scotia has eight historical transects down the slope each with trawl stations at depths of: 500m, 1000m 1500m and 1800m. Trawling this deep is technically difficult; however Scotia’s officers and crew have become expert at fishing these depths over the years and an additional trawl at 2000m depth was completed for several of the transects.

For each trawl all fish are identified and sorted into separate species by the experienced scientists on board. A total catch weight and length frequency is recorded for each species to allow calculation of catch indices and comparison with previous years. For selected species further biological data is recorded along with tissue samples for population studies. All invertebrates from the trawls are identified as far as possible and recorded.

The species composition at these depths is vastly different to the types of British fish that many people are familiar with

Above: a typical assemblage from the 1800m depth range west of the Hebrides. The two largest fish pictured are different species of Hydrolagus, an elasmobranch (subclass of cartilaginous fish including sharks, skates and rays) both of which form a large component of the biomass at this depth.

Despite the after-effects of hurricane Lorenzo the survey proceeded with only minor disruption. With as much survey work completed west of the Hebrides as possible, Scotia proceeded Northeast to collect data from the Arctic-influenced waters of the Faroe – Shetland Channel (FSC).

Also participating in the survey were staff from the National Museum of Scotland. They collected and preserved as diverse an array of specimens for the museum as possible.

Right, picture 1: Here the Black Halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) is common below 500m.

Right, picture 2: Hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) were abundant at one station in the Faroe – Shetland Channel (FSC).

Right, picture 3: Some typical invertebrates from the Faroe – Shetland Channel (FSC). Pycnogonids (sea spiders) are very commonly encountered here. The pale object with bulbous projections centre left is the carnivorous sponge Chondrocladia.

Further Information:

 

 

The post The Wonders Found when Deepwater Sampling – #1419S Survey Update appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Hydrographic Sampling in the Northern North Sea

Tue, 2019-10-15 10:00

MRV Scotia
Survey: 1519S Programme

Duration: 14-24 October 2019

Gear: Sea-Bird CTDs, RBR CTD, ADCPs and current meter instrumentation, water filtering equipment, mooring equipment, chemistry sampling equipment.

Objectives:
  1. Test the SBE911 and CTD carousel (main CTD crane) and the SBE25 and Aquatracker (using plankton crane) in the Buchan Deep.
  2. Perform hydrographic sampling along the JONSIS long term monitoring section in the northern North Sea
  3. Deploy two new ADCPs (FIGS and FIGN) in trawl-resistant seabed frames in the Fair Isle Gap
  4. Recover, download and re-deploy one ADCP mooring (NWSE) at a position on Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section
  5. Deploy one new ADCP (NWER) on a single string mooring on the NOL section
  6. Recover and download two ADCP moorings (NWEX and NWEZ) and redeploy one ADCP (NWEZ) on the NOL section
  7. Download data from PIES mooring on NOL section and then recover the instrument
  8. Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section
  9. Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section
  10. Take water samples for long term storage on Fair Isle – Munken or Nolso – Flugga section stations
  11. Run the thermosalinograph throughout the survey
  12. Run the VMADCP on all the standard sections
  13. Opportunistically communicate with lost ADCP mooring on NOL section and potentially recover
  14. If weather/time permits repeat the JONSIS line at the end of the survey and extend to 001°30’ east (within UK waters)
  15. If weather/time permits perform fine scale VMADCP/CTD survey work on the JONSIS line (around 59° 17′ N, 001° 15′ W)
  16. If weather/time permits, perform VMADCP/CTD survey work in the Moray Firth and/or Aberdeen Bay
  17. If weather/time permits, perform CTD line along the AlterECO lined

 

Procedure:

On sailing from Aberdeen Scotia will make passage to the Buchan Deep to test the CTD and carousel water sampler on the main CTD crane and the SBE25+Aquatracker CTD using the plankton crane.

 

On completion of these tests, Scotia will head to the JONSIS section to carry out sampling with the CTD and carousel water sampler. On completion of the JONSIS section Scotia will make way to the Fair Isle Gap to deploy two ADCPs in trawl-resistant bed frames (during daylight hours).

 

Passage will then be made towards the NWSE mooring location near the Foinaven Development Area. The mooring will be recovered, serviced and re-deployed (depending on timing and weather conditions, this may be undertaken later in the survey).

 

Passage will then be made towards the NWER mooring location on the Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section where the ADCP mooring will be deployed. The three existing moorings on the NOL section will then be recovered and the NWEZ will be re-deployed. For the PIES mooring, communication will be established prior to recovery enabling and data will be downloaded. Depending on conditions and timing, the order of these mooring activities may change.

 

Scotia will then make her way to the eastern end of the Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section and start collecting long term monitoring samples and taking CTD profiles from the start of the section. On 1618S a mooring in an AL500 frame failed to surface. Communication with this lost mooring may be attempted (depending on condition/timing), but it is unlikely any communications will be established.

 

After the NOL section, Scotia will head to the western (Faroe) side of the FIM section to carry out standard CTD and water sampling along that line. (If the NWSE mooring was not recovered earlier in the survey, we will break the line to turn this mooring around).

 

Once that work is completed and if time allows, Scotia will carry out additional work (listed among the survey objectives) along the JONSIS line, in the Moray Firth and North Sea prior to her return to Aberdeen.

 

Mooring Positions (Recovery):

NWSE             60° 16.29′ N    004° 20.76′ W             Short single string mooring
NWEZ             61° 09.30’ N    002° 17.52’ W             Short single string mooring
NWEX             61° 11.00’ N    002° 25.00’ W             Long (63 m wire) single string mooring
PIES                61° 10.99’ N    002° 24.92’ W             PIES instrument frame on bed

 

Mooring Positions (Deployment):

NWSE             60° 16.29′ N    004° 20.78′ W             Short single string mooring
NWEZ             61° 09.30’ N    002° 17.52’ W             Short single string mooring
NWER             61° 07.00’ N    002° 05.75’ W             Short single string mooring
FIGN               59° 46.70’ N    001° 32.20’ W             AL-200 trawl-resistant bed frame
FIGS               59° 30.40’ N    002° 05.15’ W             AL-500 trawl-resistant bed frame

 

Scientific Procedures:

It is expected that deployments of hydrographic equipment will be carried out with the CTD crane whilst the vessel is on station. The plankton crane will be used for the deployment of ADCP moorings in trawl-resistant frames (AL-200 and AL-500) and short single-string moorings. Longer single-string ADCP mooring deployments will be done from the trawl deck.

 

Two container laboratories will be required (one for water filtering and a dry container for communications with sampling equipment). Chlorophyll samples will be stored frozen in the freezer in the Fish House. Nutrient samples will be stored frozen in an empty freezer on the lower container deck.

Chart showing key activities on 1519S (moorings shown with green flags)

Chart showing key activities on 1519S (moorings shown with green flags)

Further Information:

The post Hydrographic Sampling in the Northern North Sea appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Engaging the Fishing Industry in Marine Environmental Survey and Monitoring – Part 3

Fri, 2019-10-11 12:14

Marine Scotland (MS) has been leading this European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) funded project which is aimed at involving fishing vessels in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) monitoring. This is a joint project between MS and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). The project is managed by Seascope Fisheries Research Ltd, with Charlotte Johnston of Crangon Ltd providing monitoring survey expertise. Kyla Orr from Marine Ecological Consulting is supporting stakeholder engagement on the project.

The 2019 survey season is now complete as part of the EMFF project that is engaging fishers in marine environmental monitoring. Four surveys have been completed this year using drop-down video camera to document marine life on the seabed. The areas surveyed were: the Inner Sound and Wester Ross, Orkney, Shetland and Islay and Jura. These surveys build on the work completed in 2017 and 2018, surveying the seabed habitats in and around MPAs. We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest newsletter which contains details of all the work we have done so far this year. To read the Summer 2019 newsletter, please follow this link.

Further Information:

 

The post Engaging the Fishing Industry in Marine Environmental Survey and Monitoring – Part 3 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Marine Licensing Casework Manager, closing date 30 October 2019

Fri, 2019-10-11 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Licensing Casework Manager within Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen. 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 successful post holder will be responsible for processing applications for consents and licences, assisting in the team’s compliance and enforcement activity and ensuring that procedures are followed. The role provides high quality service to Scottish Ministers, applicants and stakeholders, in a dynamic, fast paced environment.

The job holder will ensure that applications for marine licences (under the Marine Acts) and Section 36 consents (under the Electricity Act 1989) are dealt with correctly and within agreed timescales, and provide guidance to licensing casework officers. The job holder may also be required to advise, in line within-house guidelines, policy and legislative requirements, in relation to Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA), Marine Protected Area (MPAs) assessments and Environmental Impact Assessment.

Qualifications Required:
  • Degree in chemistry, biology, oceanography, environmental sciences, planning, engineering, law (environmental or planning), or similar, relevant specific experience.
  • 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. Experience of reviewing environmental or technical information, providing advice and recommendations and making informed decisions to tight deadlines.
  2. Experience of permitting processes and/or legislative frameworks.
  3. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to demonstrate credibility with internal and external stakeholders, and show experience of working in a cross team environment.
  4. A proven record of strong planning and organisational skills, with the ability to work on your own initiative, manage a diverse workload and to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and expectations.
Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. 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 Mike Bland who can be reached at michael.bland@gov.scot or on 0131 244 2993.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Resourcing Team on 0131 244 8217 or via EMAIL recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job:

The post Vacancy: Marine Licensing Casework Manager, closing date 30 October 2019 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancies: Two Seaman 1A, closing date 29 October 2019

Wed, 2019-10-09 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Seaman 1A within Marine Scotland which is based in Victoria Quay. 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.

There are currently 2 permanent vacancies available for the post of Seaman 1A based on board our vessels. The posts are primarily based on our Research Vessels MRV Alba Na Mara and MRV Scotia, although it is expected that the successful candidate will also be prepared to work on the protection vessels if required. MRV Alba Na Mara and MRV Scotia are 27 metres and 69 metres in length respectively. Research cruises vary in length, but generally are no more than 22 days.

The Marine Protection Vessels are Minna, Jura and Hirta. Minna is 47 metres in length and both Jura and Hirta are 84 metres in length. These vessels carry out patrols which normally last 21 days.

All vessels work double manning allowing for trip on/trip off rostering.

Qualifications Required:
  • Able Seaman and/or Efficient Deck Hand Certificate
  • Navigational Watch Rating Certificate
  • All relevant STCW certification including Proficiency in Designated Security Duties
  • Valid ENG 1 (Unrestricted)
Essential Criteria:
  1. Fishing industry experience including net mending.
  2. Confidence in all aspects of deck maintenance and awareness of the safe working practices required.
  3. Fast rescue craft and/or RIB handling experience.
  4. Experience of operating davits, winches and cranes.

 

Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. 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 Mari-Anne Valli who can be reached at Mari-Anne.Valli@gov.scot or 0131 244 6073.

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

 

Further information for this job:

The post Vacancies: Two Seaman 1A, closing date 29 October 2019 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Science Colleagues get ‘Girls into Physics’

Tue, 2019-10-08 12:48

Today on Ada Lovelace Day we hear from one of our colleagues, Louise Campbell (shown middle in picture above), about her involvement with ‘Girls into Physics’ events and why she is keen to dispel the myth of how difficult and hard physics is. Read on for Louise’s story and for more information about events taking place.

**********************************************************************************************
The ‘Girls into Physics event’ is part of a series of events, supported by the Institute of Physics (IOP). The first event was a ‘one off’ half day event in Edinburgh in 2009. The event was so popular that it was changed to a full day and repeated in the same location in 2010. Since then the number of events has grown steadily and this year there are events in: Lockerbie, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Dunfermline and Inverness. At each of the events the girls get a talk unconscious biasing. They are then divided into groups of 15 and go round a series of workshops. At each workshop they spend 30 minutes doing a hands on activity. The day is all about showing the girls the potential opportunities that continuing to study Physics gives them. It also gives them the opportunity to work in groups with girls they have never met before.

The reason why I am keen to contribute to events like this is because I think it is really important to show young students (not only girls) the different career paths you can take if you continue studying science such as physics. I especially think that girls avoid studying subjects that are thought to be ‘hard and difficult’ even though they enjoy them and are good at them.

I was very determined that I was not going to study physics at University, because everyone kept telling me how difficult and hard physics was…so I believed them. In the end (…long story) I ended up studying physics at University and LOVED it. Yes it was hard work, but in a good and challenging way. I think it is important to encourage and inspire other young people (especially girls) that it is ok to keep studying subjects that you actually enjoy and find interesting, even though they are earmarked/branded as difficult. You will without a doubt do better/more likely to stick with it, if you actually find it interesting and enjoy it.

With a physics degree you can do so much! You can apply it to so many different areas and physics is literally everywhere around us. One area which is dominated by physics is our oceans. A big part of oceanography includes studying the physical aspects of the ocean such as: ocean currents, tides, waves, circulation and so on.

During the event we discussed hydrodynamic modelling and particle tracking. This can be useful when tracking both biological species, such as sea lice, and chemical substances in the event of, for example, an oil spill. We asked the students to guess where they think particles would end up if they were released from Aberdeen harbour as a kind of ‘pin the tail’ game (shown in picture to the right). A simulation done with our in house model showing the trajectory of the particles over the course of a yearlong simulation was then shown. This was well received and got the students to consider how far anything that is placed in the water can travel in a relatively short time frame.

I hope that by attending and contributing to events like ‘Girls into Physics’, we can demonstrate the importance of physics and give insight into one area where physics plays a massive role. If I can encourage/inspire anyone to pursue/continue to study physics, I will be very happy and content!

The post Science Colleagues get ‘Girls into Physics’ appeared first on Marine Scotland.

King Scallop Surveys in the Clyde

Mon, 2019-10-07 10:00

MRV Alba na Mara
Survey:
1719A Programme

Duration: 4 – 18 October 2019

Objectives:
  1. Carry out a dredge survey of king scallops in the Clyde.
  2. Age, measure and assess shell damage for all king scallops caught.
  3. Collect information on by-catch of other commercial fish and shellfish species.
  4. Identify and quantify all starfish species in all dredge tows.
  5. Collect data on king scallop ring measurements.
  6. Collect king scallop meat weight and biological data.
  7. Record and retain marine litter obtained during the dredging process.
  8. Collect frozen whole scallops for heavy metal testing as part of the OSPAR assessment of hazardous substances in the marine environment.
  9. Collect tissue samples for possible genetic testing.
  10. Carry out camera trials if conditions and time allow.

 

Procedure:

Survey will depart from Troon on 4 October with the aim of conducting a dredge survey of king scallops in the Clyde region. This is a preliminary survey to collect catch rate data in an area that has not been recently surveyed for king scallops. The survey will also collect biological information on this species.

 

Once vessel drills have been undertaken, the vessel will steam to the first station, the order of which will be which will decided by the SIC in consultation with the skipper. Scallop dredge hauls will be conducted at stations shown in Figure 1. These positions have been agreed in collaboration with fisherman, industry representatives and external stakeholders.

 

Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration. From each haul all king scallops will be measured to the half centimeter below and aged. In addition, numbers and size distribution of commercial fish and shellfish species will be recorded along with scallop shell damage and starfish numbers and species.

 

A sub sample of king scallops will be selected for ring measurements to enable growth studies. A separate sub sample will be dissected to collect biological data which will include examination of the gonad to try and ascertain spawning period. Scallops (10 individuals per station) will also be collected from selected sites and frozen for heavy metal analysis back at the laboratory.

 

Any litter collected in the dredges will be recorded as set out in the standard operating procedure and placed in bags to be disposed of on return to port. Camera trials will be carried out if conditions and time allow – with the aim to collect footage of the fishing gear while in operation.

 

If time allows; additional stations may be added out with the Clyde. Areas of particular focus would be to the south of Islay and the area to the east side of the North Channel.

Figure 1. Station positions for scallop survey 1719A

Figure 1. Station positions for scallop survey 1719A

Further Information:

The post King Scallop Surveys in the Clyde appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy: Offshore Energy Environmental Advice Group Leader, closing date 24 October 2019

Fri, 2019-10-04 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for an Offshore Energy Environmental Advice Group Leader within the Marine Scotland Science based in Aberdeen. 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 lead the Offshore Energy Environmental Advice Group (OEEAG) at Marine Scotland Science (MSS), taking responsibility for ensuring the provision of advice by MSS relating to chemical permitting under the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment & Decommissioning (OPRED), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). They will ensure the provision by OEEAG of advice to BEIS in relation to the potential effects of proposed marine oil and gas activities on marine fish and fisheries and other key receptors. The post-holder will also lead relevant research activity by OEEAG, and seek to take advantage of opportunities to secure additional external funding for research and other activities.

The post-holder will engage with key stakeholders including policy, regulators, industry and academia to identify collaborative project or funding opportunities. These should focus on allowing MSS and others to address key knowledge gaps relating to the potential environmental impacts of oil and gas or marine renewables marine infrastructure, including potential consequences resulting from their decommissioning. This includes interactions with other users of the marine environment e.g. fisheries, etc.

Qualifications Required:

For jobs in Band B & C you must hold a science degree.

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. An authoritative understanding of the environmental impact assessment process and of providing advice on potential environmental impacts resulting from the commissioning or decommissioning of substantial marine projects (e.g. oil and gas, marine renewables, infrastructure projects).
  2. A proven track record of successfully managing and delivering relevant science research projects to time and to budget.
  3. Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences, in order to develop partnerships or secure funding.
  4. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills.
Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. 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 Peter Hayes on 0131 244 2904 or by email Peter.Hayes@gov.scot.

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

Further information for this job:

The post Vacancy: Offshore Energy Environmental Advice Group Leader, closing date 24 October 2019 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Joint Warrior Training Activity: 5th-17th October 2019

Wed, 2019-10-02 10:00

Exercise Joint Warrior (JW), organised by the Ministry of Defence, a major programme of exercises involving land forces, warships, submarines and aircraft from all the NATO partners, across the UK. The next exercise, Joint Warrior 192, will take place between 5 and 17 October 2019 in the airspace, offshore and coastal waters to the west of Scotland (submarine, warship activity and mine warfare).

 

Further information on the exercise, including the Environmental Statement can be found below.

 

Further Information

 

The post Joint Warrior Training Activity: 5th-17th October 2019 appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Scotia Set for Deepwater Sampling

Sat, 2019-09-28 08:30

MRV Scotia
Survey: 1419S Programme

Duration: 28 September – 11 October 2019

Objectives:
  • Map the composition, distribution and abundance of continental slope species on the deepwater slope west of the Hebrides from Donegal to the Flannans (55–59oN) and Rosemary Bank (Figure 1).
  • Collect samples (genetics and otoliths) of key species for population studies.
  • Continue use of groundgear bag on selected stations to further evaluate BT184 catchability of deepwater fish species at different depths as well as providing valuable benthic assemblage data.
  • Collect a near-seabed water sample from each standard fixed station for analysis of environmental DNA content back at the laboratory.
  • Collect temperature/salinity at depth during all hauls using a data storage sensor attached to the trawl headline.
  • Collect sponge samples from Rosemary Seamount for analysis of assemblage composition, baseline levels of hydrocarbons and chlorinated biphenols and for molecular studies.
  • Collect specimens of fish and invertebrates for the National Museum of Scotland.
  • Undertake any other sampling requests such as MSFD marine litter recording and samples of microplastics from surface waters.
Procedures:

The survey will depart from Ullapool and, conditions permitting, proceed south through the Minch to the first trawling station on the shelf slope within statistical rectangle 41E9.

Trawling will mainly be at fixed stations at depths of: 500, 1000, 1500, 1800 and 2000 m on each transect where possible. Additional trawls may be undertaken at intermediate depths within selected transects. Trawl duration will typically be one hour and the locations of trawling stations will be provided to the vessel at the commencement of the survey. Daily meetings with take place between the fishing master, captain and the Scientist in Charge (SIC) to discuss and refine the survey plan as the survey progresses.

While it may be on occasions necessary to trawl at night, it is expected that trawling will mainly be conducted within the hours of daylight. Short deployments of either an MIK net or Manta Trawl will be undertaken directly after the last trawl on an opportunistic basis. The rest of the night will be spent in passage to the sampling area for the following day.

On selected tows a ground gear bagnet will be attached to the BT184 for benthic sampling. The Agassiz 2 m benthic trawl will be deployed for short (2-5 minute) hauls in certain areas.

From all tows the entire catch will be sorted, weighed and length-frequency data collected for all fish species encountered. Invertebrate by-catch will also be recorded. Additional biological sampling will be carried out on selected species.

If time permits following completion of survey stations on the shelf slope and at Rosemary Seamount, Scotia will transit to squares 48E4 and 49E4 and trawl on fixed stations (not illustrated) previously undertaken in 2014 in depths of between 300-1100 m.

Figure 1: 1419S Shelf slope with approximate position of survey trawl transects (black bands).

 

Further Information:

The post Scotia Set for Deepwater Sampling appeared first on Marine Scotland.

A Splash of Colour at the Marine Lab

Fri, 2019-09-27 14:30

If you go down to Torry today you’re sure to find not one but four big surprises …

Marine Scotland Science (MSS) has partnered with local group VictoriArt Road to host one of four giant murals on an external wall at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.

As part of a regeneration project Dundee based artist Isla Valentine Wade has been commissioned to decorate the large, blank wall which will form part of an art walk through the historic Torry district.

VictoriArt Road hopes to inspire and involve local people and improve physical and mental health. The aim of the project is to contribute to the regeneration of Victoria Road and Torry by using “creative urban interventions as a vehicle for social and spatial change”.

Tim McDonnell, Head of MSS, commented: “I was approached by the VictoriArt Road group and was only too delighted to assist with this project. The Marine Laboratory benefits from over 100 years of shared history with Torry and Nigg Bay – this project helps to strengthen our links to the local community and residents – and will no doubt form a colourful landmark for many years to come’.

The mural health walk, starting at Victoria Road bridge and finishing at Nigg Bay Golf Club, was launched late last month.

Further Information:

The post A Splash of Colour at the Marine Lab appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Skate Research: Survey in the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura MPA

Thu, 2019-09-19 10:00

MRV Alba na Mara
Survey: 1619A Programme

Duration: 24-30 September 2019

Background and Objectives:

Survey 1619A will conduct a benthic survey of juvenile common skate within and around the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (hereafter referred to as MPA). The primary objective of survey 1619A is to assess the presence of juvenile common skate within the MPA and the type of habitat juveniles are associated with. This survey is, therefore, necessary to estimate the efficiency of the management measure at protecting this Priority Marine Feature (PMF) during the entirety of its life-cycle.

The study will utilise two sampling methods: demersal tows and baited-camera to assess the presence of Juvenile skate. Habitat will be characterised using a combination of hydro-acoustic recordings (RoxAnn) for seabed classification and sediment grab samples.

Data from these surveys is needed for the monitoring and development of the Scottish MPA network and will inform the development of species distribution models to study differences in habitat requirements between adults and juveniles. Skate sampled in the trawl will be measured and tagged and a genetic sample will be collected (for further analyses of population structure) before being released.

A second objective of this survey is to develop and calibrate a non-invasive method to assess PMF presence and abundance using eDNA. DNA will be extracted from water samples collected at set depths with reverser bottles and from sediment samples from the grabs mentioned above. Samples will be used post-survey to analyse the presence and amount of DNA corresponding to common skate. If successful, this approach may be used at a larger scale to gain knowledge of species distribution.

Specific Survey Objectives:
  1. Assess the presence of juvenile skate using two different sampling methods.
  2. Record substrate features at the point of sampling.
  3. Collect DNA from water and sediment samples to develop and calibrate a non-invasive detection method.
  4. Collect genetic material and tag individuals to investigate issues relating to stock structure and population processes.
Embarkation:

Scientists will join the vessel on 23 September around 12:00 (BST). Weather permitting Alba na Mara will depart the following morning, heading for the first survey site.

Survey Work:

The survey will be split into three distinct activities – demersal trawling, baited camera work, and water/sediment sampling – which will be performed at each station (except demersal trawling in restricted areas).

Figure 1. 2019 survey sites within and outside of the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area

Demersal Fishing Survey

The demersal survey (10-15 minute tows) will assess the abundance, length-frequency-distribution, and weight-at-length of common skate at four fixed sites (3-5 tows per site) just outside of the MPA (Figure 1- Trawl boxes). Scanmar units will be fitted to the wings and head line of the BT158 trawl to ensure the net is fishing correctly. All common skates will be measured and a fin clip will be collected for further genetic analyses. Each individual will be screened for the presence of tags, if no tag is present the fish will be tagged (PIT tags) before being returned.

Baited Cameras

In addition to demersal survey sites (Figure 1- Trawl boxes), baited underwater video camera frames will be deployed in the MPA (Figure 1 Camera boxes) during daylight hours. These will be left in the water for approximately 1.5 hours before being retrieved. Footage will be downloaded to external media at the end of each working day. Presence of common skate, life-stage (juvenile/adult) and substrate type (assessed visually) will be classified post-survey.

Substrate Classification

To further aid the classification of the substrate at each sampling site, 1619A will also acquire RoxAnn records of the surveyed area and a Day grab will be deployed. Sediment samples will be collected from each grab and stored in the freezer. These will be analysed on return to the laboratory to determine particle size distribution in the sediment at each sample location.

eDNA Samples

Sediment and water samples will be collected to investigate feasibility of detection of flapper skate using environmental DNA shed in marine environment. Sediment samples will be collected using day grab and subsamples with be taken using sterile 50 ml falcon tubes. Water samples will be collected using reverser bottles within 5 m and at 10 m from the seabed. Collected water will be filtered through 0.8 micron filters using sterile 50 ml syringe. Sediment and filter samples will be stored at -20℃.

Operations:

Survey operations will take place between the hours of 07:00 and 19:00 (all times BST). Stations will be surveyed depending on the prevailing weather conditions i.e. if wind strengths or wave heights are adverse, a precautionary approach will be adopted and those with adequate shelter from the weather will be selected. Alternatively, in poorer weather the trawl survey may be prioritised over other activities.

The vessel will leave the study area on 29 September to allow sufficient time to travel to Troon. Unloading will occur in Troon on Monday 30 September. Scientists will disembark at this time.

Further Information:

The post Skate Research: Survey in the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura MPA appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Pages