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Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Andronikos Kafas

Thu, 2018-02-22 10:00

As mentioned last month, 2018 is both the Year of the Engineer and the Year of the Young Person. This month’s blog is about one of our many colleagues who are inspiring the next generation with their Outreach work.

This is Andronikos, one of our marine renewable energy scientists. To see what he does, in this universe, please read on…

 

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Andronikos Kafas, a Greek national who joined Marine Scotland Science in 2012 as a Research Scientist in Offshore Renewable Energy based in Aberdeen. My role is to provide scientific advice to the Licensing Operations Team by assessing Environmental Impact Assessment documentation submitted in support of applications for offshore renewable energy developments. I also provide specialist advice to Marine Planning and Policy Division on interactions between the marine environment and the marine renewable energy industries.

 

Why is what you do important?
There are a number of domestic, European and international commitments to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Part of the solution includes the increased energy generation from renewable sources. My work contributes directly to this and from a local point of view, contributes towards Scottish Government’s aspiration for 100% electricity production from renewable sources by 2020.

 

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?
I hold a BSc (Hons) in Marine Science from the University of Aegean in Greece. I have graduated with a MSc in Applied Marine Ecology from the University of Aberdeen and I am currently undertaking a part-time PhD in Marine Renewable Energy and Marine Spatial Planning with the same university. Aberdeen University’s postgraduate programme originally attracted me to the North East of Scotland. A postgraduate placement with Marine Scotland during my degree intrigued me to apply for the role I currently have.

 

If you weren’t doing this, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
During my undergraduate degree, I was working as a part-time freelance graphic designer. During my conscription, besides military training, I served for the last couple of months as a musician (playing the Greek musical instrument Bouzouki). I believe somewhere in a parallel universe, I am following a career as a graphic designer or a professional musician.

 

What’s your favourite fishy fact?
As part of my research I study commercial scallop fisheries. Did you know that scallops are unique among bivalves in their ability to ‘swim’? Scallops are free-living active swimmers who can propel themselves through the water through the use of the adductor muscles to open and close their shells. Swimming occurs by the clapping of valves for water intake. They use this primarily as an escape mechanism to escape predation and for habitat selection. It is unlikely that swimming is used for efficient long-distance movement.

 

Can you tell me one fun fact about yourself?
I quite like coffee! As a diligent coffee enthusiast, I often experiment with out-of-the-ordinary flavoured coffee. This month, my selected coffee varieties include “crème brulee”, “Oreo cookies & cream”, and “French-cream donut” (is that even a real thing?!)

 

What made you decide to be involved in Outreach?
A genuine interest to engage and offer back to younger fellas, the opportunity to simplify my research to the general public, and the wonderful satisfaction one can get by wowing a crowd with his knowledge.

 

What do you enjoy most about doing Outreach?
Thinking back to my school time, I realised that I loved (and hated) certain subjects based on how much I liked (or disliked) the teacher. Hoping that the outreach activities I have engaged were fun and informative, I hope I made a difference to a small group of people who might chose to follow the domain of marine sciences in the future.

 

Would you encourage others to get involved in Outreach too?
If you are having a stressful period at work or you are feeling you’ve lost some of the enthusiasm you had in the past, I would certainly encourage you to consider getting involved in Outreach activities. There is nothing better than a cheerful, curious, information-hungry crowd of young people waiting for you to wow them!

 

Further Information

The post Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Andronikos Kafas appeared first on Marine Scotland.

MRV Scotia Survey 0318S Programme

Fri, 2018-02-16 13:48

Duration: 15 February – 7 March 2018

Fishing Gear: GOV Trawl (BT 137) fitted with ground gear D.

Objectives:

  1. Demersal trawling survey of the grounds off the north and west of Scotland in ICES Subarea VIa.
  2. To 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. Opportunistic completion of zero hours hauls to assess unquantified time spent by the trawl on the seabed
  5. Opportunistic retrieval/replacement of Compass moorings deployed in November 2017.

Procedures:

General

Scotia set sail on the morning of 15 February.  A training haul was undertaken during the passage north to ensure all fishing gear/sensors were working effectively. Scotia has began fishing operations on predefined stations off the north Scottish coast and west of 4’W; weather conditions will thereafter determine the route taken on the survey.

Trawling

This is a random-stratified survey design with trawl stations being distributed within ten predefined strata covering the sampling area shown in Figure 1, right.  0318S – 2018 ICES Subarea VIa Survey Strata showing primary and secondary stationsA total of 64 primary and 45 secondary stations have been generated.  The intention is for 64 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, however, vary slightly according to geographical location.  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 centre 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.  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.

Subsequent to discussions at the ICES International Bottom Trawl Working Group (IBTSWG) in 2017 regarding the potential inter-vessel variability in unquantified trawl time, additional information on trawl deployment and retrieval will be recorded to better understand variability and provide an accurate estimation of the total time required for each vessel to successfully complete a 30 minute tow. Further to this and if time permits, Scotia will also undertake several zero-hour trawls, defined as starting the retrieval (hauling) process of the trawl at the exact moment that the net has settled and therefore the haul commences, hence it has zero duration. Zero-hour deployments will be completed in sets of three along a single extended and bathymetrically similar trawl track. The intent Location and positions of Compass mooringsion is, if time allows, to repeat this process on several different tracks covering a range of depths.

Hydrography

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

Compass Moorings

Six acoustic moorings were deployed at sites within the 0318S survey area in November 2017. If time allows and it is convenient to do so then Scotia will attempt to retrieve some/all of these moorings during the survey.  An acoustic release system together with release codes and protocols for the retrieval of the moorings will be provided to the Scientist in Charge prior to the survey’s departure. A map displaying the mooring locations together with their positions is provided in Figure 2 (shown to the right).

Further Information:

Table 1: 0318S – Positions of primary sampling stations.

Table 1 0318S

 

The post MRV Scotia Survey 0318S Programme appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Iambic Pentameter Meets the ICES North Sea Lemon Sole Benchmark

Wed, 2018-02-14 10:00

Last year we introduced you to our Sea Fisheries Programme Manager, Dr Coby Needle. When he isn’t dealing with fish stock and assessment, or even sometimes when he is, he also writes. So here, in something a little different, we introduce you to the work of the ICES Benchmark Workshop on North Sea Stocks in poetry.

Attend, good sirs and ladies, while I tell,
Of Microstomus kitt, the lemon sole,
I’faith a shortish tale it is, I own,
So best to hear it partial not, but whole.

We met one morn in coldest København,
Avowed the seek the truth by hook or crook,
‘Twas yet the first of benchmarks for the stock,
For useful data did we search and look.

Alas, alack, the ages’ samples sought,
Were few and far between, though try we may,
Forsooth, the surveys seemed the safest bet,
And survey-based assessment ruled the day.

A SPiCT assessment did not pass the test,
The IBTS survey was too brief,
And lackéd contrast in the index seen,
Much work was lost, yet gave we not to grief.

So SURBAR cameth forth, as well it might,
The status of the stock did it suggest,
Advice be based on rule of 3-to-2,
A valid scheme for kitt from east to west.

And finally to homeland we were bound,
A useful ICES venture once again,
The fate of lemon sole looks safe enough…
Till meeting May in Belgian town Ostend.

Further Information

The post Iambic Pentameter Meets the ICES North Sea Lemon Sole Benchmark appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Marine Ornithologist (closing date 6 March 2018)

Fri, 2018-02-09 11:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Ornithologist within Marine Scotland Science (MSS) 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 Marine Ornithologist will work alongside the Ornithology Specialist at MSS to contribute to achieving Scottish Government goals for marine renewable energy and for protecting the marine environment. This will be achieved through the provision of specialist advice to the Marine Scotland Licensing and Operations Team on interactions between marine birds and the emerging marine renewable energy industries, and to the Marine Scotland Planning and Policy Division on marine bird conservation issues. This advice will be placed into the context of the interactions of marine bird populations and marine renewables, and of the legislation and regulatory processes that are relevant to marine birds in Scotland.

 

Qualifications Required

A minimum of a BSc. degree. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable. If you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

 

Essential Criteria

  1. A good understanding of seabird biology and regulation, legislation and research relating to marine birds in Scottish or European waters.
  2. Demonstrable data analysis and statistical skills, using specialist statistical software, such as R, Genstat or Matlab.
  3. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills and effectively manage projects.
  4. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences.

 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 Dr Jared Wilson or call 0131 244 9103.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team on 0131 244 5597 or via Recruitment.

Further Information

The post Vacancy – Marine Ornithologist (closing date 6 March 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – House Team Coordinator (closing date 5 March 2018)

Thu, 2018-02-08 12:00

We are currently seeking applications for a House Team Coordinator within the Marine Laboratory 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 team is based within the offices of Marine Scotland Science (MSS) at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen.  Its main priority is to support and facilitate the business of MSS whilst simultaneously managing the estate and the associated planned and reactive maintenance. In addition, the team provides a wide range of services to MSS including provision of Reception service, liaison with security, Sodexo (catering provider), Mitie TFM, fire management and processing of all incoming and outgoing mail.  The team also acts as a liaison between the various contractors who are regularly on site.  The range of duties the team provides on a daily basis makes this a very challenging and varied post.

Qualifications Required

For jobs in Bands A, you must hold a minimum of 5 Standard Grades (grades 1-3) or Ordinary Grades (grades A-C) including English and a numerical subject. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

Essential Criteria

1. Strong organisational abilities and decision making skills.
2. Pro-active approach with the ability and drive to deliver excellent customer service.
3. Excellent interpersonal and team working skills.
4. Strong communication skills.

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 by email  Rae Diaper or call on 01312 242606.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Craig Purves on 0131 244 0639 or via EMAIL at Recruitment.

Apply for this job

You should read each of the Essential/Desirable Criteria and think about a time or an example that can help demonstrate your knowledge/skills. Remember, this must be evidence based and your answers should be clear, concise and reflect what actions you undertook. You may want to use the STAR(R) approach to respond to each criterion.

Further Information

The post Vacancy – House Team Coordinator (closing date 5 March 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Marine Mammal Biologist (closing date 6 March 2018)

Wed, 2018-02-07 11:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Marine Mammal Biologist within Marine Scotland Science (MSS) 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 Marine Mammal Biologist 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 the provision of specialist advice to MS-LOT on interactions between marine mammals and the emerging marine renewable energy industries, and to MPPD on marine mammal conservation issues. This advice will be placed into the context of the interactions of marine mammal populations and marine renewables, and of the legislation and regulatory processes that are relevant to marine mammals in Scotland.

Qualifications Required

A minimum of a BSc. degree. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

Essential Criteria

  1. A good understanding of regulation, legislation and research relating to marine mammal species, populations and trends in Scottish or European waters.
  2. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills and effectively manage projects.
  3. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences, particularly in a professional context.
  4. A good understanding of the impacts of underwater noise and other key issues to marine mammals and other marine species and methods to assess these impacts.

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 email Dr Jared Wilson or call 0131 244 9103.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team on 0131 244 5597 or via Recruitment.

 

Further Information

The post Vacancy – Marine Mammal Biologist (closing date 6 March 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Celebrating the Year of the Engineer – Meet Neil Collie

Tue, 2018-02-06 10:00

Neil Collie

As we mentioned in our blog in January, 2018 is the Year of the Engineer as well as the Year of the Young Person. Over the course of the year, we’ll be introducing you to some of our incredibly talented engineers, as well as showing your some of their work. Next up, we hear from our Engineering Group Leader, Neil.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am Neil Collie, and I’m the Engineering Group Leader at Marine Scotland Science, based in the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen. I manage a highly skilled team, and we provide specialist engineering, underwater observation and net-rigging services to support the needs of our scientific colleagues.

Why is what you do important?

My team of qualified engineers undertake the design, construction and operation of custom-built equipment, applying their expertise in the application and fabrication of electronic and mechanical systems (you can read about one of them, ARIES, in January’s blog). The Net Riggers ensure that trawls and other equipment are available for MSS to meet national and international obligations. This work helps to provide robust research and advice underpinning the management of Scotland’s marine and freshwater resources.

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?

I was born in Stonehaven and left Mackie Academy just before my 16th birthday and started as an apprentice electrician with the Property Services Agency based at the Marine Laboratory. The PSA were a government agency who looked after a number of buildings throughout Aberdeen (this work is now carried out by Mitie) but most of our work was at the Lab or at Torry Research Station. After finishing my apprenticeship, I applied for an Electrical Technician post with the The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland (DAFS) and started work in February 1984. During this period I spent a lot of time either at the lab sites on the West Coast, on occasional sea trips or in the workshop in Aberdeen. In 1986, I moved into the Instrumentation Section and since then, working my way from my entry level grade of PTO IV to management, I’ve taken part in almost 200 surveys on both commercial and research vessels.  During this time I’ve also managed to get married, have three kids and pick up an honours degree with  the Open University on the way!

What’s your proudest achievement so far?

In 2015 I had occasion to participate in a diverse piece of research when I provided engineering support in a joint venture between MASTS partners (Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland) to locate a cold seep ecosystem west of Rockall. Our VMUX chariot was to be used in 1200m deep water trench and I was tasked with flying the frame, collecting HD camera footage and CTD (conductivity, temperate and depth) data in the area of the seep. Despite us being informed prior to the cruise that it would be like “looking for a needle in a haystack” we located the seep and obtained valuable HD footage of this unique phenomena.

What would you say to any aspiring young engineers?

The engineering profession seems to get a hard time from some sections of society. People seem to think it’s a job for men in boiler suits and hard hats. This isn’t always the case. Engineering is for people who are interested in how things work, love problem solving and enjoy communicating with others. If a young person is interested in technology and new developments there will be a sector of engineering for them.

And one fun fact about you?

Although I can’t play a note and my wife would say I’m tone deaf, I’m a bit of a music geek. I got my first record player at 10 and since then I’ve collected around 600 albums and around about 1000 cd’s. I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to downloads!

If I ever win the lottery, I’ll be in a corner shop near you listening to music!

 

The post Celebrating the Year of the Engineer – Meet Neil Collie appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Head of Licensing Operations Team (closing date 01 March 2018)

Fri, 2018-02-02 11:20

We are currently seeking applications for a Head of Licensing Operations Team within the 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. This is a full time vacancy, however applications from people wishing to work an alternative working pattern will be considered. Based in Aberdeen, although travel around Scotland, including to remote locations where public transport may not be available, will be expected.

Marine Scotland is looking for an experienced leader who will ensure the team is well placed to meet the current and emerging priorities.

The Licensing Operations Team in Marine Scotland provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for marine licences and consents in Scottish Waters. The successful post holder will be responsible  for leading and directing a team of approximately 35 licensing, consenting and support staff. You will provide a high quality service to both Ministers and stakeholders in a dynamic fast paced and evolving environment. You will make a key contribution to the achievement of the 2020 National target relating to renewable energy generation. Working in a high pressure/profile environment dealing with a cross section of stakeholders including senior Government officials, Industry Leaders, Ministers and the media, this role is key in delivering  Marine Scotland’s marine licensing and consenting output in accordance with published targets and associated legislation.  You will also have responsibility for the operational response to Offshore Oil and Gas and maritime incidents.

Qualifications Required
A minimum of a good honours degree or equivalent in science, engineering, planning or law but in exceptional circumstances relevant and specific experience may be considered. Preference will be given to applicants who hold a professional qualifications, such as IEMA or similar. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Essential Criteria
1. Proven senior professional leadership skills in delivering results in high profile and fast paced environments, motivating a team of specialist and administrative staff to high standards of delivery.
2. Excellent programme and project management skills aligned to experience of working within planning and consenting frameworks.
3. Experience of working with Ministers, senior leaders and stakeholders, handling politically sensitive issues and providing advice and direction on the interpretation of international, UK and Scottish legislation and guidance.
4. Experience of balancing a number of competing agendas sensitively including resolving conflict between partners drawing on the expertise of specialist staff as appropriate.

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 Helena Gray on 0131 244 6014 or at Helena.gray@gov.scot.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5175 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further Information

The post Vacancy – Head of Licensing Operations Team (closing date 01 March 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Second Engineer (closing date 26 February 2018)

Mon, 2018-01-29 14:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Second Engineer within Marine Scotland based on board our Marine Protection and Marine Research Vessels. 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.

Qualifications Required
As a minimum, candidates must hold a Class 1 (Motor) Unlimited Certificate and must also be certificated in all respects to meet the requirements of STCW (as amended); Knowledge of diesel electric propulsion systems may also be an advantage. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

Essential Criteria
1. Recent experience of being a sea going Second Engineer, and can demonstrate the ability to work to high standards in all marine engineering disciplines.
2. Experience of carrying out planned maintenance and running repairs to ensure the vessel is maintained to Flag and Class Standards by ensuring adherence to the Safety Management System.
3. Ability to work with minimal supervision in a small team to ensure the safe and effective running of the vessel.
4. Ability to deputise for the Chief Engineer.

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 Caroline Hutton or at 0131 244 4194.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5175 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further Information

 

The post Vacancy – Second Engineer (closing date 26 February 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Seaman 1A (closing date 26 February 2018)

Fri, 2018-01-26 11:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Seaman 1A within Marine Scotland based on board our Marine Protection and Marine Research Vessels. 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.

Qualifications Required
As a minimum, candidates must hold an Efficient Deck Hand Certificate and associated STCW (as amended) certification.  Ideally candidates will hold an able seaman’s certificate and or fishing qualifications. Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact the Resourcing Officer named at the end of this advert to discuss.

Essential Criteria
1. Candidates must be an experienced bridge watch keeper, aware of required duties.
2. Successful applicants must be confident in all aspects of deck maintenance and aware of the safe working practices required.
3. Have experience and can describe how to conduct a night gangway watch, explaining the statutory standard.

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 Caroline Hutton or be reached at  or 0131 244 4194.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5175 or via recruitment@gov.scot

Further Information

The post Vacancy – Seaman 1A (closing date 26 February 2018) appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Dr Nabeil Salama

Thu, 2018-01-25 10:00

Nabeil SalamaThis is Nabeil, one of our scientists. When he’s not leading a team of fisheries scientists or running around the lab working on wrasse or fisheries stock assessment, he’s also just taken on the role of Marine Scotland Science’s Outreach steering group coordinator.

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?
For as long as I can remember I have had an interest in natural sciences and growing up on the Lincolnshire coast less than 500m from the sea, much of my curiosity was focused on coastal and marine environments. I spent quite a lot of my informative years rock-pooling, bird watching and, what now seems like an unhealthy fascination in, waiting to go and see the frequent stranding of marine mammals. To further my interest I studied sciences and mathematics at school.

My first experience of the world of work was helping out in the family fish shop where I learnt the time-honoured tradition of differentiating between cod and haddock based on morphological differences (a fancy way of saying I learnt to spot that cod had a white stripe and haddock a black stripe). These early mornings down at Grimsby dock-side fish merchants followed by filleting and boning ice-cold fish before sunrise provided me with an admiration for those involved in the fishing economy and made me realise that when it was my time to inherit the business, I was better placed running away to study biological sciences in the warmth and comfort of university.

During my undergraduate degree  I had the pleasure of studying many aspects of population and community biology and the application of statistics. Marine science featured heavily and it gave me the opportunity to go on field trips to Millport and Scarborough, and I did my honours project on an aspect of coastal ecology. After my honours degree, I pursued  a masters degree at Glasgow where I once again ventured back to Millport and then undertake my dissertation based at the Rowardennan field station on Loch Lomond. I then ventured south to Imperial College London to try my hand at a PhD in population modelling.

Between degrees I have worked quite a few interesting (and some less interesting) jobs including work as a bumble-bee research assistant, a brewery technician, university tutor, somehow getting involved with the fish shop again, running a festival business and postdoc-ing (is that a word?). A decade ago my wife took the reins and persuaded me it was time to make the move back towards her origins in the north-east, so with that I embarked on a career at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen where I have since used simulation and statistical models to investigate aquaculture and fisheries systems.

What made you decide to be involved in Outreach?
Warning: Clichés ahead: Firstly, it was through a sense, in a round-about way, of giving back to the volunteers and teachers who provided inspiration to me to study the natural world. Secondly, like most people I know involved with scientific research, I have a genuine love of knowledge and learning and I wish to share the pleasure with others.

In terms of outreach at the lab it just seemed a natural progression. I started volunteering with schools and community groups during my A-levels and then undergrad studies. It was unbelievably rewarding and it just became part of what I did as a scientist. I haven’t found it a burden so I have simply continued. I think it is incredibly important to be able to communicate, what can be complex ideas,  to a broad range of people and nothing helped me hone those skills than in front of inquisitive classrooms of children and young adults.   I enjoyed science communication so much, I actually gained a place at teacher training college, but then I realised I would be just talking about other folks discoveries and the narcissist in me wouldn’t allow that, I needed to talk about my own discoveries as well.

What do you enjoy most about doing Outreach?
There is nothing finer than holding the attention of a room of eager people and someone pipes up. Along the lines of “ooohhhhh, I get it now”, or even better “Why….?” Actually even better than that is “that’s just like …..”.  I like to see it when people critically evaluate the world around them and use rational thinking to explain the things they experience.

I also like being able to demonstrate that scientists come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and backgrounds and that anyone can be a scientist or use science in their lives.

Would you encourage others to get involved in Outreach too?
Absolutely, Definitely. Make the time.

It is not only gratifying to see members of the public getting inspired and learning about the marine environment,  and bringing on the next generation of scientists or citizens fascinated in the marine environment. It also provides great opportunities for individuals involved in outreach to personally develop. It improves your own ability to communicate,  it provides an opportunity to plan and deliver a little-something, it helps reaffirm why we do what we do, it gives you the skills to think on your feet, it reminds you why you became a scientist. It also demonstrates our commitment to the people we are accountable to, and provides a way the public can access the work that they pay us to do on their behalf. It also gets you out of the lab in to some wonderful places and you get to meet some amazing people, both inquisitive students and dedicated teachers.

Further Information

The post Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Dr Nabeil Salama appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Counting scallops

Wed, 2018-01-24 10:00

Duration: 25 January – 7 February 2018

Fishing Gear:

Scallop dredges

Objectives

  1. To carry out a survey of scallop stocks around the Shetland Islands.
  2.  To age, measure and assess shell damage on all scallops caught.
  3.  To collect information on by-catch of other commercial fish and shellfish species.
  4.  To identify, quantify numbers, and damage assess of starfish species in all dredge tows.
  5.  To undertake underwater filming of dredges using a Go-pro camera.   

Procedure

Scallop dredge hauls will be made at sites used on previous surveys as shown on the map below. Hauls will be of 30 minutes duration.  From each haul all of the scallops will be measured to the half centimetre below and aged.  Numbers and size distribution of commercial fish and shellfish species will be recorded along with scallop shell damage and starfish numbers and species.  Filming the gear fishing will be undertaken on selected tows to show gear efficiency.

Scallop survey sites

Further Information

 

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Getting to the Bottom of things

Tue, 2018-01-23 10:00

Duration: 23 January – 12 February 2018

Fishing Gear:

  • GOV Trawl (BT 137) with ground gear A & B
  • MIK Net (Round Frame with IK depressor)
  • MIKeyM net (attached onto the MIK net on selected stations)

Objectives:

  1. To complete an internationally coordinated demersal trawling survey in the North Sea in ICES area IV.
  2. To undertake MIK sampling for pre-metamorphosed herring larvae during the hours of darkness within the trawl survey area. MIKeyM samples will also be collected from the MIK deployments.
  3. To obtain temperature and salinity data from the surface and seabed at each trawling station using a SEABIRD 19+ CTD.
  4. Collect additional biological data in connection with the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF).

Trawling:

Hauls of 30 minutes duration will be made using the GOV trawl. Wherever possible, fishing will be carried out during daylight hours as defined below:

 

For each degree of longitude west, four minutes will be added to the time; for each degree of longitude east, four minutes will be subtracted.

The survey area is outlined in the attached chart (see Figure 1) but the exact fishing position will be decided in collaboration with the fishing master. The Scanmar system will be used throughout the survey to monitor headline height, wing spread, door spread and distance covered during each haul.  A bottom contact sensor (BCS) will be attached to the ground-gear and the data collected will be downloaded after each haul.

Catches will be processed as per the most recent version of the IBTS sampling manual (ICES SISP 10 – IBTS IX) with additional biological data collected for species as determined.

 

MIK Sampling:

Pre-metamorphosed herring larvae will be sampled during the hours of darkness with the MIK mid-water trawl (Round frame). As standard a minimum of two double oblique tows will be made in every square within the assigned survey area.  The vertical profile of the tow will be monitored using the Scanmar system. During this survey the small 20 mm round frame net (MIKeyM net) will also be deployed on all MIK stations for the purpose of collecting pelagic fish eggs from the survey area.

 

Hydrography:

Surface and bottom temperatures, salinities, nitrates, silicates and phosphates will be taken at all trawl stations.

 

Further Information:

 

Figure 1: Scottish survey area for 0218S. Rectangles with two crosses will be trawled twice where possible.

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So, how were the nephrops?

Fri, 2018-01-19 10:00

Snow at sea At the beginning of January, we blogged about the research adventures of the Alba na Mara as she went off in search of nephrops. The Scientist in Charge of that survey got back in touch with us to let us know how they’d got on:

The west coast TV survey abroad Alba na Mara spent the first day of the cruise (6th Jan) in Fraserburgh due to poor weather. The weather continued to hamper the cruise as the vessel made its way to the west coast, eventually arriving at the planned destination off the north of Jura on Tuesday 9th Jan, following nights spent in Loch Erribol and at Kyle.

The following two days were spent using the TV sledge to survey areas of mud for Nephrops burrow abundance which have not previously been included in the summer Scotia Nephrops TV surveys. These annual cruises use information from BGS charts to direct where the Nephrops TV surveys will be carried out (except in the North Minch where VMS data form the basis of the survey design). To the north west of Jura there is a patch of mud extending out to Colonsay that is already charted. However on the 2016 January cruise (0116A) aboard Alba na Mara, exploratory sites beyond this known ground were investigated using underwater TV cameras and a drop frame. The preliminary results implied the mud covered a larger area than that presently charted, and it is on these grounds the TV sledge was deployed during this part of the 0118A cruise.

Two days were spent working between the north west of Jura and to the south of Mull before steaming to anchor off Kerrera on the night of the 11th. Due to the poor weather the work plan for the following two days involved calibration exercises between the TV sledge and drop frame, two methods for investigating Nephrops burrow habitat but each having unique characteristics. This work was carried out in the shelter of Loch Linnhe before heading for Oban on Sunday 14th for the planned half landing and a change of scientific staff.

Notable points so far on this survey have been the significant swings in temperature; outstanding sunrises; Kyle’s RNLI rib using Alba for training purposes; and the magnificent snow topped west coast hills.

Further Information

 

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Vacancy – Four Casework Managers, Aberdeen (closing date 12 February 2018)

Thu, 2018-01-18 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for four Casework Managers within the Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team based in Aberdeen. For further information on these vacancies, please click the links below:

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

Further Information

 

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Celebrating the Year of the Engineer. Aries – more than just a star sign

Tue, 2018-01-16 10:00

ARIES sampler

As we mentioned in our blog earlier this month, 2018 is the Year of the Engineer as well as the Year of the Young Person. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be introducing you to some of our incredibly talented engineers, as well as showing your some of their work. First up, one of our inventions.

This is the ARIES sampler, developed and built by scientists and engineers at Marine Scotland Science.

ARIES, which stands for Automated Recording Instrumented Environmental Sampler, has the ability to collect 110 plankton samples in small codend bags, and 60 water samples at depths down to 3500 metres.

The open stainless steel frame means that it is also capable of carrying a large payload of other instrumentation which, at one time or another, has included a Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD), Optical Particle Counter (OPC), Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), underwater echo sounders and a holographic plankton camera.

ARIES has been deployed on a variety of ships for over 20 years and it continues to successfully collect data for our scientists on the winter MRV Scotia surveys in the Faroe Shetland Channel.

Further Information 

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Vacancy – Fisheries Advisor (closing date 9 February 2018)

Thu, 2018-01-11 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Fisheries Advisor within 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 postholder will be the principal Scientific Fisheries Advisor for Scotland. He or she will provide the main point of contact between Marine Scotland Science and a wide range of internal and external organisations and individuals (including, but not limited to, fisheries policy colleagues in Edinburgh, London and Brussels, the Scottish fishing industry and relevant environmental groups).  The postholder will also work with other senior managers within MSS to ensure the delivery of advice, contribute to the effective operation of the Programme, carry out relevant scientific analysis as required, conduct appropriate and original research, and potentially perform a corporate role to be determined by Marine Scotland’s Head of Science.

Qualifications Required
Applicants should be educated to postgraduate degree level (e.g. MSc, MRes, PhD) in mathematics, statistics, biological science or environmental science.

Essential Criteria
1. In-depth knowledge and extensive experience of fisheries science.
2. Good computational skills, with proven ability to programme in a high level language such as R, C++ or MATLAB, and the ability to easily adapt to new packages.
3. Experience of presenting scientific results, preparing reports and making presentations, and communicating with specialist and non-specialist audiences.
4. Experience of leading and managing collaborative scientific teams, and of working with fisheries stakeholders in a science-policy interface.

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find a link to 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 Dr Coby Needle who can be reached at coby.needle@gov.scot or 0131 244 3304.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact Helen McLean on 0131 244 8217 or Helen.mclean@gov.scot

Further Information

 

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2018 – A year for a double celebration

Mon, 2018-01-08 10:00

2018 is going to be a busy year with two things for us to shout about – the Year of the Engineer and the Year of Young People.

The Year of the Engineer

Designed to inspire the next generation of engineers, the Year of the Engineer also gives us the opportunity to celebrate and showcase all the types of engineering that we do within Marine Scotland. One look at our website shows just how wide our remit is, but as one of the operational parts of the Scottish Government, many people don’t realise just how much work is done, much of it bespoke, by the engineers in our workshops, labs, net store and on our vessels.

Our engineers are multi-skilled electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, instrumentation engineers and design engineers, and this year we want to give you an insight in to their work.

But that’s not all…2018 is also:

The Year of Young People

The Scottish Government has named 2018 the Year of Young People to celebrate the amazing young personalities, talents, and achievers that make up Scotland. It’s also about inspiring our nation, and Marine Scotland is keen to support young people through our outreach work. What you might not realise is that an any given year we attend a number of public events like family days at local fairs and shows, bigger events like the Royal Highland Show and we participate in open days like the Doors Open weekends. We also support school-related activities like visits, careers fairs, work experience places and the Nuffield Foundation.  Oh, and then there are all the university students who we support. Young people are the future and it’s great to inspire them and be inspired by them.

Over the next year, we’ll be sharing images and stories about our engineering and outreach work so sit back, relax and enjoy!

Further information

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Watching nephrops on TV

Fri, 2018-01-05 10:00

NephropsDuration: 6 – 22 January 2018

Gear

  • Large TV drop frame
  • TV sledge
  • 1 x 600m umbilical towing cable
  • 1 x armoured cable
  • Video cameras and associated equipment (plus backup)
  • Four lasers and 60cm bracket for the drop frame
  • 1 x BT201 prawn trawl (plus minimal spares)
  • Day grab and table
  • Prawn sorting table
  • Go Pro deep water housing

Objectives

  1. To obtain estimates of the Nephrops burrow abundance to the north of Jura using the sledge UWTV system.
  2.  To compare two different methodologies to establish Nephrops burrow abundance (using the sledge and drop frame UWTV systems).
  3.  Weather permitting, to obtain estimates of the Nephrops habitat distribution in the area west of Mull and to the east of Coll and Tiree, using the drop frame UWTV system and sediment grabs.
  4. To obtain estimates of the Nephrops burrow abundance in the Inner Sound using the most appropriate UWTV system.
  5.  To use the video footage to record occurrence of other benthic fauna and evidence of commercial trawling activity.
  6.  To collect trawl caught samples of Nephrops for comparison of reproductive condition and morphometrics.

Procedure

Survey activity will be very dependent on the weather, and it may be required to alter the work plans during the survey.

The priority of this survey will be to study in greater detail than is presently undertaken on the summer UWTV Nephrops survey on MRV Scotia, the area to the north of Jura using the UWTV sledge.

The location of the survey sites will be provided ahead of the survey.

The second objective is to follow on from work carried out in previous surveys, and spend at least two days performing comparative trials between the drop frame and sledge UWTV systems in an appropriate area in the South Minch. The sledge will be deployed five times on known Nephrops grounds, in parallel tracks 200 m long and approximately 50 m apart. The drop frame will then be deployed over the same ground a further three times, with video of the sea bed being recorded at all times with both methods. This work requires additional data to generate a larger data set to allow for a more robust analysis of the results.

It is hoped that in future this drop frame approach will be able to provide quantitative Nephrops burrow abundance data in areas where the sledge cannot be deployed. Details of the locations where the trials are to be carried out will be discussed with the ship’s officers during the survey, and will depend on weather and survey progress.

Weather permitting, the third objective involves habitat mapping work, and will be carried out in the area between Mull, Coll and Tiree, using the drop frame UWTV system. This continues the work first started in 2014 which is aimed at mapping the distribution of muddy habitat suitable for Nephrops in the South Minch in which the British Geological Survey has little or no data.

Site locations will be provided prior to the cruise. Each survey site will be located near to the boundary of the suspected Nephrops ground. The drop frame will be deployed to provide a visual record of the seabed type as the ship drifts over the ground. The search path will continue in one direction until the presence or absence of muddy sediment becomes apparent. All video footage will be recorded onto DVD and all significant observations will be recorded manually. These observations will include the boundary of the muddy sediment, the point where Nephrops burrows begin to appear or disappear, and any signs of anthropogenic activity.

The distance between, and the duration of each of these deployments will vary depending on the environmental conditions, obstructions (creels, fish farms, etc.), the size of the survey area and how quickly the boundary between Nephrops and non-Nephrops habitat is detected.  A Day Grab will be deployed at a suitable point along the track to obtain a sediment sample, and on recovery, the sample will be frozen.

Depending on the time available and having completed the previous objectives outlined above, it is hoped to be able to survey the Inner Sound using the most appropriate system (depending on creel densities in the area) for Nephrops burrow abundance. This will involve a standard abundance tow, in that the survey positions will be randomly generated (and supplied prior to the survey), with each tow lasting ten minutes, with the footage being recorded to DVD and the other essential data being recorded directly to PC.

Further Information:

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New Year is a bit rubbish for the Scotia

Wed, 2018-01-03 10:00

Duration: 4-19 January 2018

Objectives

  1. To undertake water, sediment and biological sampling for the Clean Seas Environmental Monitoring Programme (CSEMP).
  2. To collect water samples for nutrient studies as part of the Scottish Coastal Eutrophication Assessment Survey (SCEAS).
  3. Monitor and record all litter brought aboard in all trawls. Sample water column and sediment for micro-plastic litter. Collect fish guts and any other biota of interest for microplastic research.
  4. Deploy Aquatracka and Seabird 19 to collect fluorescence data.

Procedure

Surface water will be collected for hydrographic nutrient studies (SCEAS) throughout the survey at fixed time intervals (Hourly for ammonia and every 30 minutes for nutrients). The vessel will sample from the Forth to Berwick initially, north to Montrose Bank then following the sediment/fish sampling track.  Nutrient samples will be analysed onboard as far as possible.  Any remaining at end of the survey will be returned to the laboratory for analyses.

Fish sampling will be carried out at the Montrose Bank, Fladen (Fair Isle), North Minch. and Colonsay CSEMP sites (Table 1). Weather permitting a fish site will be identified for the Faroe-Shetland Channel.

Sediment sampling will be carried out at the East coast, Inner and Outer Moray Firth, Faroe-Shetland Channel, Minch North, Minch South, Sea of Hebrides and Colonsay. Sediment sampling will also be carried out at the four CSEMP fixed sites (NMMP85 – North Minch, NMMP95 – Inner Moray Firth, NMMP105 – Outer Moray Firth, NMMP165 – Montrose Bank) (Table 1).

Sediments will be sampled for chemical analyses at all locations. Fish will be sampled for chemical analyses, biological effects and fish diseases.  Some biological effects measurements will be carried out during the survey.

Monitoring of all litter brought on board during trawling operations will continue throughout the survey. The catamaran will be deployed to sample for micro-plastics whenever possible and samples processed onboard.  Additional sediment samples will also be taken for micro-plastics where possible.  Fish guts and any other biota of interest will be preserved and returned to the lab for analysis.

The Aquatracka will be deployed in the Forth and in at least 1 other area to obtain reference measurements.

Sediment will be collected to provide chemistry laboratory reference material. Where possible, if sufficient suitable fish are obtained which are not required for other studies then livers will also be sampled for reference material.

Further Information:

 

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