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Updated: 17 min 18 sec ago

Water Sampling for Long-Term Monitoring – An Update 09/10/18

Tue, 2018-10-16 13:58

Scotia left harbour at 09:00 on Friday 5 October. Our first objective was to deploy the Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) profiler at 18 stations along a line at 57° N going west from the Scottish East Coast to 2°E.  Along with salinity (conductivity) and temperature, we measured dissolved oxygen, turbidity and fluorescence. We also took water samples through the water column to calibrate the sensors and measure the nutrient content of the water. These measurements were made in support of the AlterEco project; studying how changing physical and chemical conditions are affecting the marine ecosystem and health of UK shelf seas.

The CTD transect was completed in just under 24 hours and we made our way to the JONSIS CTD section in the northern North Sea. The Scotia visits the JONSIS section three times a year to monitor the annual, and inter-annual, variability. After completing the JONSIS section, we made our way to the Faroe-Shetland Channel to recover and service a mooring on the continental shelf slope in 450 m water depth. The mooring is deployed on the seabed and contains an upward looking Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) which continuously measures the velocity of the current through the water column, from the seabed to the water surface. In order to recover the mooring, which is sub surface, an acoustic release was used. We successfully recovered the mooring, downloaded the data, serviced, and redeployed the mooring this morning.

We are now sailing to north Shetland to start a long CTD transect across the Faroe-Shetland Channel. This line will take us over the shelf edge into water depths of approximately 1400 m and over to the Faroe Islands. This section of water is an important region for exchange between the Arctic and Atlantic, with cold and fresh water flowing southwards at the bottom and relatively warm salty water flowing northwards at the surface. The combination of ADCPs and repeated CTD transects allows us to monitor the transport of these different water masses.

1418S ADCP mooring being deployed over the starboard side of ScotiaThe ADCP mooring being deployed over the starboard side of Scotia and the CTD instrument frame, equipped with 12 water sampling bottles, standing on deck.

 

Further Information:

 

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Water Sampling for Long-Term Monitoring

Mon, 2018-10-15 14:55

Survey: MRV Scotia 1418S

Duration: 5-15 October 2018

Procedure:

Scotia will make her way to the eastern start of the Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section and start collecting long term monitoring samples and taking CTD profiles. On a previous trip – the 0618S survey – a mooring in an AL500 frame also failed to surface and communication with this lost mooring will be attempted.

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 the line. Scotia will then sail back to the JONSIS line to conduct a fine scale CTD survey around the area of the AECO mooring.

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

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 (AL200 and AL500) 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.

Objectives:
  1. Perform hydrographic sampling along the ALTERECO monitoring section in the northern North Sea, which will be sampled in all MSS oceanographic surveys in 2018.
  2. Perform hydrographic sampling along the JONSIS long term monitoring section in the northern North Sea.
  3. Recover, download and re-deploy an ADCP mooring deployed in a trawl-proof frame on the JONSIS section (the “AlterEco mooring”, AECO).
  4. Recover, download and re-deploy one ADCP mooring at a position on Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section.
  5. Perform hydrographic sampling along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Nolso – Flugga (NOL) section.
  6. Try to establish communication with previously lost mooring (AL-500) on NOL, and potentially attempt recovery.
  7. Perform hydrographic sampling along the long-term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel Fair Isle – Munken (FIM) section.
  8. Take water samples for long term storage on Fair Isle – Munken or Nolso – Flugga section stations.
  9. Perform fine scale VMADCP/CTD survey work on the JONSIS line (around 59° 17′ N, 001° 15′ W).
  10. If weather/time permits perform a short-term deployment of an ADCP in AL200 frame.
  11. If weather/time permits, perform VMADCP/CTD survey work in the Moray Firth and/or Aberdeen Bay.
  12. Run the thermosalinograph throughout the survey.
  13. Run the VMADCP on all the standard sections.
Gear:
  • SeaBird Conductivity, Temperature and Depth units (CTDs)
  • Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs);
  • Current meter instrumentation;
  • Water filtering equipment;
  • Mooring equipment; and
  • Chemistry sampling equipment.
Mooring Positions (Recovery):
  • AECO – 59° 16.928′ N 001° 15.393′ W   Trawl resistant AL200 frame
  • NWSE – 60° 16.42′ N 004° 20.46′ W    Short single string mooring
  • NWEA – 61° 38.01’N 004° 32.60’W     (previously lost, attempt to communicate again)
Mooring Positions (Deployment):
  • AECO – 59° 17.00′ N 001° 15.00′ W on JONSIS
  • NWSE – 60° 16.29′ N 004° 20.78′ W on FIM

 

Chart showing key activities on 1418S (moorings shown with green flags)Chart showing key activities on 1418S (moorings shown with green flags)

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Further Information: ALTERECO Line 1418S

ALTERECO Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JONSIS Line 1418S

JONSIS Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair Isle - Munken FIM 1418S

Fair Isle – Munken FIM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nolso-Flugga NOL 1418S

Nolso-Flugga NOL

 

 

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Celebrating the Year of the Engineer with Matt Geldart

Tue, 2018-10-09 10:00

Matt GeldartAs 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.

This month it’s the turn of Oceanographic engineer Extraordinaire and part-time actor, Matt Geldart.

Who are you and what do you do?

My Name is Matt Geldart (or Matthew on more formal occasions, or when my wife is cross with me).  My job title at Marine Scotland is Oceanographic engineer.

This job title covers a multitude of disciplines, electronics instrumentation engineer – with respect to the many and varied fleet of CTDs (which measure seawater conductivity, temperature and depth – plus a myriad of other seawater parameters such as oxygen and nutrients), Current meters, and other instrumentation and associated hardware.

When on Scotia, I am the Moorings Engineer: I design and organise fabrication of moorings, I hold the pre-recovery and deployment meetings for the whole ship, I lead the ship’s crew on deployment and recovery of moorings, and also have to be on call at a moment’s notice for when things go wrong – this has a habit of happening at  0300 and some brave soul is tasked with the job of waking me up in order to diagnose and (hopefully) fix the problem that has presented itself, or figure out a workaround that will keep everything ticking over until the end of the survey. 

Of course, moorings don’t just get deployed in the Faeroe-Shetland Channel, or just from Scotia; since gaining this position, I have deployed and recovered moorings in Loch Torridon, Sheildaig, Loch Ewe, Loch Linnhe, and off Stonehaven – The fieldwork, especially on the West Coast gives me the opportunity to experience the rugged beauty of the West Coast of Scotland, and of course, the journey to and from the fieldwork sites is also filled with some dramatic scenery.  There are times when I consider myself truly lucky to be able to enjoy all of this – and get paid for it. 

During times between survey trips, I supply and ready equipment for other groups, making sure that it is correctly set-up for the needs of individual surveys, and also try to ensure that the equipment is within Service & Calibration periods; this can require a considerable amount of juggling between times equipment is needed, and times when it can be sent away for six weeks. 

In addition, when at the Marine Lab, I am responsible for seawater salinity measurement, managing a team of two Salinometer operatives, who measure salinity samples from cruises and from the SCObs (Scottish Coastal Observatory), formerly LTM –  Long Term Monitoring, sites from around the coast of Scotland.  One part of the SCObs Network is Stonehaven.  I currently organize the Stonehaven Sampling Roster, which timetables our happy band of Stonehaven Samplers in order that the sampling can occur without interruption every week of the year.

Other than that, I also have a number of more Administrative tasks.

Why is what you do important? 

Oceanography is a fascinating area of Science, I tend to regard it as the Physical Geography of the Sea.  The make-up of the sea itself, its salinity, its temperature, its chemical structure, the ways that the current flows around these islands, places that are outliers to the norm, are all fascinating things to be able to measure and to track changes over time.

Whilst I am not a Scientist myself, it doesn’t stop me from having slightly more than a layman’s interest in these things and from playing my small but not insignificant part in enabling all of these studies to continue.

Whilst I might not be at the forefront of the science itself, my role is not insignificant in the general day-to-day running of the Group.  The highest compliment that a member of my team once said to me was that if I were to leave the group, then everything would be in deep disarray!

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

In a sentence, one might say – More by accident than design. 

As a boy in school, I developed a huge interest in electronics, and particularly in radio.  I would buy the magazine Hobby Electronics each month and from time to time build the projects that were within the pages.  Working in electronics, and preferably in radio was very much my burning ambition.

At 23, I decided to go to Cardiff Institute of Higher Education (Now Cardiff Met University) and did my HND in Engineering (Electronics & Communication).  It was a great couple of years for me and one on which I look back fondly.

When I qualified, there was a recession, and nobody was taking on electronics engineers.  Thus after a little time I applied to the University of the West of England in Bristol, and did a B.Ed. in Mathematics.  Two years later I was a qualified teacher and spent the next 11 years teaching mathematics in a number of Secondary state and independent schools.

Teaching mathematics can be very rewarding at times, but it can be challenging.  As a boy myself, I enjoyed mathematics, and in the days before quite so many people went to University, many schoolchildren hoped to go into a technical career or nursing and thus recognized the need for the mathematics as a requirement for such careers. 

After 11 years of teaching, I had become Head of Mathematics, but I needed a change – and so we moved to Aberdeen.

After just over a year working for Stagecoach – which was a great way to get to know the North East of Scotland, I passed an interview for the post of Electronics Technician in the Engineering Section of the Marine Lab. 

I began working for The Marine Lab February 2006 and got promotion after 18 months.

Initially, it was great to get my hands on a soldering iron again, building projects for various groups, and maintaining various pieces of equipment, everything from the Lecture Theatre projector, to Dual Methot nets and ARIES – or anything else for which the Scientific groups of Marine Lab needed technical support. 

Then the position in Oceanographic Services came up, I applied and was successful.  I set myself the personal task of getting to grips with everything that the group did within two years, and with the support of colleagues I achieved this goal.  Getting familiar with all the complicated and very specialized instrumentation, how to do moorings, how to lead the deck crew on Scotia effectively, the nature of the various monitoring networks, particularly the LTM sites and their samplers and the various other elements that are required for smooth running of the group.

Over time, the team I work in has changed; people have left, sometimes leaving massive holes in workload and specialist knowledge that needed to be covered, and more people have come into the group, and helped restore a good equilibrium within my particular work–life balance. 

All in all, the move to Oceanography has provided me with an interesting and varied work life, it has allowed me to become a known name in my field, which sometimes surprises me at trade exhibitions, and has allowed me considerable autonomy at work, which is something I enjoy and thrive under.

So yes, when I left school, I had ever heard of Oceanography, and perhaps the way in which I ended up in Marine Scotland is more by serendipity than by outright career path decisions, but my trade training and my passion for electronics, and my love of the countryside have found a happy match in this particular position.

What’s your proudest achievement so far?

I’m not sure proudest is quite the right word here, but certainly this was a very enjoyable moment and was quite an achievement…

This is a bit of an odd one, and I’m not sure how this all came about – but I have the, perhaps enviable, job of writing the Marine Lab Christmas Panto, all written from scratch.  My particular favourite was The Big Lab Theory.

Now, many people in the Lab enjoy The Big Bang Theory on television, and it had been mentioned to me that I should write a Marine Lab one.  And so I did! AND all of the science in it was true!

And the panto is a very important thing for staff morale and for cross group team building.

What would you say to any aspiring young engineers?

Go for it! Sure, the path might be difficult – I personally remember the effort that I had to make to master Fourier and Laplace transforms, and Electron Hole Theory and other such things – but the rewards are there afterwards. As a young engineer, it is very much “bread and butter for today so you can have jam tomorrow”, but as successive electronics engineers have shown the paths to promotion are indeed open, and the path may well take you on an unexpected journey of life to somewhere you hadn’t even considered.  Keep an open mind.

As someone involved in Outreach, would you encourage others to do it?

I love doing outreach, and wish I could do more of it; it gives me the opportunity to showcase all the best bits of what I do, for fresh minds.  Be that schoolchildren having a tour of Scotia, university students visiting the lab so they can see practical applications for the theoretical and classroom based lectures that they have received at their university, or members of the public on such things as “Doors Open Day” – It’s all great fun to show off the “party pieces” of the Lab – but also to be able to answer some more enquiring questions that sometimes arise from these audiences.

It gives me a buzz – and I have been told that my passion for my work is obvious when I am doing it, and this makes the subject matter come alive for the audience.  I suppose all those years in front of classes of mathematics pupils has held me in good stead for this role.

Perhaps it isn’t for everyone I think it is a great outlet for the “showman” in me, but if you are passionate about your work, if you like expressing your passion to an audience, if you enjoy meeting many and varied people of all ages and of all backgrounds, then I would thoroughly recommend getting involved in some way with the whole Outreach thing.

And one fun fact about you?

Whilst my work in the lab is technical, outwith the confines of this building, I am a chorister at St Margaret’s church Gallowgate, and a part time film actor. Recently I was involved in a short film about women who dared to challenge a pub’s “No Ladies Please” policy.  It’s all good fun and broadens my social life with people outwith Marine Scotland.

Further Information

 

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Vacancy – Fisheries Scientist – closing date 30 Oct

Mon, 2018-10-08 10:27

We are currently seeking applications for a Fisheries Scientist at Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, 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 key post in the Statistics Group of the Fisheries Data Programme, supporting the collection, management and provision of fisheries data to ICES. The post-holder will manage and analyse data collected through the onshore market sampling, observer and research surveys, providing written reports as required. The post includes the opportunity for survey and catch sampling work as well as occasional attendance of national and international meetings, as such applicants must be willing to travel and, on occasion, to work unsociable hours.

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

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

Essential Criteria

  1. Good organisational skills, with an ability to plan and prioritise work and use your own initiative to complete a project.
  2. Aptitude for writing and adapting short pieces of code in a high-level computer programming language such as R to carry out simple data manipulation, summaries, visualisation and analyses as part of a research project.
  3. A confident communicator, able to present results verbally and write scientific reports.
  4. Attention to detail required to collect, accurately record, quality check and manage scientific data.

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 Liz Clarke  who can be reached at liz.clarke@gov.scot or 0131 244 3399.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact HR Resourcing on 0131 244 8148 or via recruitment@gov.scot .

Further information for this job
Person Specification

Apply for this job
You should read each of the Essential 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..

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Vacancy – Spatial Ecologist – closing date 30 Oct

Fri, 2018-10-05 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Spatial Ecologist within Marine (22 Month Fixed Term and pensionable appointment) and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

Overview
The main focus of the post will be to support the delivery of a 4-year programme of research, relating to the deep-sea areas of the North Atlantic, called Atlas. The ‘Atlas’ project is funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme split across several partners involved in various work-packages. The work-packages are brought together through area case studies, one of which (the Rockall area), developed and led by MSS, will be the focus of the post-holder’s duties. Delivery of work to support the case study, and the development of supporting species distribution models, will be the primary task of the post-holder during the duration of the project.

The post offers an exciting opportunity for a researcher to be involved in the scientific basis for marine spatial planning of Scotland’s sea areas. The post will be mainly research focused but will also involve an administrative component that supports project managers in the day to day work of projects and the timely delivery of periodic milestones. Staff on any working pattern can apply for this post.

Main Duties

  • To support the delivery of the Atlas and other external projects: Working with the project managers and project partners to ensure successful delivery of relevant milestones for the project according to the EU grant agreement.
  • To undertake primary research and analysis: This will involve database management, species distribution modelling, processing fisheries data (VMS), potentially participating in research surveys, and completing spatial evaluations within geographic information system software (GIS) and other platforms (e.g. R).
  • To draft reports and manuscripts: There will be a requirement to contribute to writing, formatting, producing figures and maps and proof reading documents. Peer-review publication will be the primary output and there will be an expectation to actively contribute to publication and the opportunity for lead authorship. Ultimately, spatial data layers will be made available on the National Marine Plan interactive platform and, if appropriate, hosted there on a permanent basis.
  • To perform administrative duties relevant to the post: attending meetings and to maintain regular contact with other project partners.
  • To carry out any additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post. This could include participation in research vessel surveys.
  • To communicate effectively in a timely manner with colleagues within Marine Scotland and to ensure good communications with other project partners and external stakeholders.

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

A PhD in marine biology, spatial statistics, or similar.  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 excellent working knowledge of spatial statistics and modelling.
  2. Experience of using GIS software and the R computing language.
  3. Experience of writing, formatting and proof reading complex documents to a high standard and with careful and accurate attention to detail and experience of contributing to scientific publications.
  4. Excellent organisational skills and the ability to work within a team and independently.

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 Philip Boulcott who can be reached at philip.boulcott@gov.scot or 0131 244 4438.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team on 0131 244 7719 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job

Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants

Apply for this job
You should read each of the Essential 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.

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Rockall Haddock Trawling Survey – An update

Thu, 2018-10-04 14:10

Survey: 1318S Rockall Haddock Trawling Survey

Duration:  19 September – 1 October 2018

The 2018 Rockall haddock trawling survey got off to a blustery start with Scotia departing Aberdeen on the morning of the 19th September and heading straight into the teeth of Storm Ali; the first officially named storm of Autumn 2018. Gusts of 70 knots SSW winds were recorded as she headed into the relatively calm waters of the Moray Firth to undertake a shakedown tow to test the trawl and associated instruments.

Progress along the North Coast was very slow the next day due to Storm Ali changing tack; which resulted in the wind shifting to be squarely against direction of travel for Scotia. Wind and swell

fig 1. 1318S GOV deployments and cruisetrack

fig 1. 1318S GOV deployments and cruisetrack

abated during the late afternoon/evening and finally good speed was made towards Rockall Bank.

Thankfully weather conditions once on the bank remained favourable throughout the remainder of the survey, allowing excellent progress to be made with on average six GOV (Grand Overture Verticale) trawls deployments being completed within each daylight period. The Rockall haddock survey utilises a semi-random stratified survey design that comprises four depth-separated sampling strata. The stations are randomly distributed within each of the four survey strata.

The number of stations within each depth strata is as follows:

  • five stations at 0-150 m(R1),
  • 21 stations at 150-200 m(R2),
  • 10 stations at 200-250 m(R3) and
  • four stations at 250-350 m(R4).

The abundance figures resulting from these trawl samples, together with the corresponding biological information collected during the catch processing, provide Marine Scotland Science (MSS) with the tools necessary to create an age specific abundance index.  This is then used with the estimates from previous years to assess the relative strength of Rockall haddock.

fig 2. 1318S CTD deployments

fig 2. 1318S CTD deployments

42 deployments were completed using the standard GOV survey trawl with 41 of these being valid. All 40 programmed primary stations were successfully completed; with an additional two stations also completed although one of these was invalid.  Scotia was therefore able to arrive back in Aberdeen on the 30th September having not only met but exceeded her core objectives.

All fish species encountered are recorded and in 2018 this yielded 47 species of fish and selected invertebrate species. In addition 19 CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) deployments were also completed for selected GOV stations and this provided a bottom temperature profile across the whole bank. (See figure 2 for CTD positions).

The haddock abundance index for Rockall cannot be calculated until the otoliths extracted during the survey are analysed and the ages discerned. Fin whales sightings were recorded during the survey; with the relatively calm conditions m

Fig 3. 1318S Grab deployments

Fig 3. 1318S Grab deployments

eaning that these majestic creatures were observed on several occasions on the top of Rockall Bank.

During the downtime at night, deployments of the new ‘Van Veen’ sediment grab were made and, after some initial teething problems, the new grab performed well with 47 deployments successfully completed. The sediment samples collected from this survey will be analysed and the results collated together with those collected from other samples and will be utilised in the ATLAS project that will attempt to correlate fish abundance and distribution on Rockall Bank with substrate type.

Further Information:

 

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Surveying the Haddock on the Rockall Plateau

Wed, 2018-10-03 14:49

Survey: 1318S Rockall Haddock Survey

Duration: 19 September – 1 October 2018

Fishing Gear:

• GOV (Grand Overture Verticale) Trawl (BT 137) with ground gear D.

Other Gear:

• Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD) Seabird 19+; and
• Van Veen Grab.

Objectives:

• Undertake the bottom trawl survey of haddock on Rockall Bank to a depth of 350 m;
• Deploy a CTD at selected trawl stations to collect temperature and salinity profiles;
• Collect sediment samples at selected stations; and
• Record marine litter at each trawl station for Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Procedure:

The primary objective of this survey is to assess the state of the haddock stock on the Rockall Plateau. The Rockall haddock survey utilises a semi-random stratified survey design comprising four depth-separated sampling strata. Sampling intensity within each of the four strata reflects the fish density observed in each of these during previous surveys. Trawling will be carried out during the hours of daylight at randomly selected locations within the 350 m contour. Forty primary tow positions have been generated and their allocation within each depth stratum is displayed in Figure 1 below.

The number of stations within each depth strata is as follows:

  • five stations at 0-150 m;
  • 21 stations at 150-200 m;
  • ten stations at 200-250 m; and
  • four stations at 250-350 m.

Scotia will undertake a trawl haul within five miles of each station position where possible or, failing that, choose an alternative. The minimum spacing between trawl locations is set at 7 nm. A further 22 secondary stations across the various strata have been generated to provide a source of additional stations and/or alternatives should any primary station prove unfishable. Where time allows additional hauls will be conducted outside the existing strata (R1-R4) in depths between 350-500 m. This is a periodic check that is undertaken to test the current depth boundary at 350 m (see Figure 1).

One haul of 30 minutes duration will be made at each sampling station. Daily start times for survey stations will be at approximately 06:00 hours and continue until approximately 20:00 hours. 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 accordanceFig 1 1318S Survey map showing stations with the protocols as described in the Manual of the IBTS North Eastern Atlantic Surveys. Series of ICES Survey Protocols SISP 15. 92 pp. 

During trawl downtime at night, Scotia will take sediment samples using a ‘Van Veen’ Grab. The sampling positions for the grabs will be confirmed on a day to day basis and will be influenced by vessel location at the end of each trawling period. Regular planning meetings with the fishing master and captain will take place during the survey and will be scheduled at a time that is mutually convenient to all those concerned.

Figure 1: Survey map showing stations generated for 1318S. Red stratum (R1) = 0-150 m depth, green stratum (R2) = 150-200 m, blue stratum (R3) = 200-250 m and light-blue stratum (R4) = 250-350 m. Boxes/polygons represent restricted or closed areas. Closed circles = primary haul positions, open circles = secondary haul positions. Potential station positions > 350m depth are denoted as black open circles.

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A Nurturing Home for the Juveniles

Mon, 2018-10-01 10:15

Survey: 1518A MRV Alba na Mara Programme

Duration: 29 September – 16 October 2018

Background and Objectives:

The primary objective of this survey is to identify whether the availability, quality, and distribution of habitat acts as a constraint on the number of juvenile fish that can develop into adults.

This study focusses on three types of fish with differing habitat preferences: Atlantic cod, whiting, and haddock in which year-class strength appears to be established around the period of habitat settlement.

The study will use three sampling methods: demersal tows, fish traps, and a baited-camera census technique. Data from these surveys will inform the development of species distribution models (at a regional and stock scale) and will also be used to compare the selectivity of the three sampling methods.

Otolith (fish ear bone) analyses will also be carried out post-survey to examine selection on settlement time and size-specific mortality. Genetic tissue will be stored and used post-survey to examine stock structure, primarily in cod.

Survey Objectives:
  • Collect measures of juvenile gadoid abundance using three different sampling methods.
  • Record substrate features at the point of sampling.
  • Collect sufficient otolith samples suitable for survival analysis studies.
  • Collect sufficient genetic material to investigate issues relating to stock structure.

Scientists will join the vessel on the morning of 29 September and, weather permitting, the Alba na Mara will make its way to the Firth of Clyde. Fish traps will be loaded directly from an European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) charter vessel.

Survey Work:

The survey will be split into four parts:

  1. Demersal Fishing Survey.
  2. Fish Trap Survey.
  3. Stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video (SBRUV) Cameras.
  4. Underwater Television (UWTV) Benthic Survey.

These will be performed at each station (with the exception that trawling will not occur at those sites within the South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA) and only baited camera footage will be taken within the Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone (NTZ).

Demersal Fishing Survey

The demersal survey (30 minute tows) will assess the abundance, length-frequency-distribution, and weight-at-length of juvenile gadoids at nine fixed stations within the Firth of Clyde (i.e. those shown to be lying outside the South Arran MPA boundary, Figure 1 below). Samples collected at each. 1 cm size class will be retained and frozen for analysis at a later date. Occurrences of invertebrates and other fish species will be recorded and measured.

Figure 1 1518A 2018 survey sites within the Firth of Clyde

Scanmar units will be fitted to the wings and headline of the Bottom Trawl type 158 (BT158) to ensure the net is fishing correctly. If possible, a low light UW camera will also be fitted to the wing/headline to enable footage of the substrate to be taken.

Fish Trap Survey

A fish trap survey at all survey sites within the Firth of Clyde will be carried out during this survey, with the exception of the four sites within the Lamlash Bay NTZ which are sites 1-19. Traps (up to two fleets of four traps) will be deployed in the first half of the day and collected in the afternoon after a soak time of approximately six hours. Species composition and length frequency distributions of fish caught will be determined. Gill samples will also be taken from selected fish for genetic study at a later date. All samples will be weighed and, where appropriate (Cod, Whiting, Haddock), frozen. Occurrences of invertebrates and other fish species will be recorded and measured.

Stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video (SBRUV) Cameras

SBRUV camera frames will be deployed during daylight hours (2-3 units will be available). These will be left in the water for approximately 1.5 hours before being retrieved. The deployment of baited cameras will happen at the same time as that of the fish traps and at distances sufficient to avoid any interaction with either the fleet ground gear or the other baited system (recommended minimum is 500 m). Footage will be downloaded to external media at the end of each working day. Species type, relative species densities (MaxN) and substrate type (assessed visually) will be classified post-survey.

Underwater Television (UWTV) Benthic Survey

To further aid the classification of the substrate at each sampling site we will also undertake a series of short, five minute, UWTV video tows at two points along each demersal tow. To achieve this, the survey will utilise the EMFF UWTV system. This system is not operated from Alba’s UWTV umbilical, but is deployed from the hydro-winch on the vessel. As the system is lowered, the camera’s umbilical is attached to the winch wire to prevent fouling the propeller. The camera display unit will be set up in the bridge to allow the winch to be adjusted according to depth/height from the ground.

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. A half landing will take place on 7 October to comply with working hours and to allow planned changes to the scientific crew.

Gear:
  • Jackson Rockhopper Trawl BT158 with 10 mm Codend + Spare
  • Scanmar net sensors – trawl width, height, and depth (x2 units)
  • 2 fleets of fish traps
  • Fish/prawn sorting table
  • SBRUV – baited camera frames – (QTY 3)
  • EMFF camera frame, umbilicals (300m + 100m), camera system, lights and control unit.
  • Flashback net camera, bracket and low light camera.
Further Information:

The post A Nurturing Home for the Juveniles appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Herring or Sprat; and the Notorious Case of Burke and Hare

Mon, 2018-09-24 10:00
Robert Knox

Robert Knox

One of the earliest pieces of fisheries research carried out in Scotland concerned the Firth of Forth herring fishery, and whether herring and sprat were two separate species. An artefact from this research is on display in the library foyer at the Marine Laboratory, in Aberdeen.

The Board of British White Herring Fisheries was established in 1808, and asked various well known scientists of the time to help with problems. In 1836, the Board asked the prominent anatomist, Robert Knox, to investigate whether the small fish being caught in the Firth of Forth were herring or sprat, and if these were different species. These specimens showed that they were different species, and that both were present in the Firth of Forth fishery.

Frederick Knox, who mounted the specimens shown in the picture above, was Robert Knox’s brother and served as his chief assistant from 1836.

A Murderous Connection

Robert Knox, eminent anatomist and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, is notorious today for his involvement with the Edinburgh body snatchers and murderers, Burke and Hare.

Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 was passed, Scottish law required that corpses used for medical research should only come from those who had died in prison, suicide victims, or from foundlings and orphans. As the science of anatomy progressed, demand for bodies increased and a shortage developed. Body snatching was the (illegal) practice of digging up recently buried corpses and selling them to anatomists for research.

Caricature of Knox harvesting corpses

Caricature of Knox Harvesting Corpses

Burke and Hare did not wait for people to die naturally though, and over a 10 to 12 month period in 1827/1828 they murdered 16 people and sold the corpses to Robert Knox. They were arrested, along with their wives, in November 1828. Hare turned King’s evidence, was granted immunity and confessed to all 16 murders. Burke was eventually charged with four murders, and convicted of one. He was hanged, dissected and displayed. Knox was not prosecuted, although his reputation never recovered from his involvement in the case.

Road to the Marine Laboratory

The artefact was originally housed in the Fishery Secretary’s Office in St Andrews House, Edinburgh. It made its way to the Marine Laboratory at some stage, and was displayed there for some years. We’re delighted to be able to display it again now, and it shows how long Marine Scotland and our various predecessor organisations have been working in fisheries research.

Further Information:

 

The post Herring or Sprat; and the Notorious Case of Burke and Hare appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Vacancy – Assistant Fisheries Scientist – closing date 9 Oct

Fri, 2018-09-21 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for an Assistant Fisheries Scientist within Marine Scotland Science, Salmon Assessment Group, based in Montrose. 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 Salmon Assessment Group is responsible for collecting data on the abundance and biological characteristics of adult salmon stocks that are of sufficient quality to support the provision of science-based advice on salmon management and conservation.  This post supports the operation of three in-river automated fish counters, focussing on their day-to-day maintenance, and to obtain and validate the counter data.  The post holder will also participate in fieldwork to obtain and sample salmon / sea trout and will age fish from collected scale samples.

Qualifications Required

For jobs in Band A, you must hold a minimum of 5 Standard Grades (grades 1 – 3) or Ordinary Grades (A-C) including English and a numerical subject.  As this is a specialist science post, good passes at Higher level, including at least one science/technology subject, maths and English are also required.

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.

Due to the location of field sites not served by public transport, a full driving licence that enables the person to drive in the UK is required. However, consideration will be given to proposals put forward by applicants to carry out these duties by other means.

Essential Criteria
  1. Demonstrates knowledge of scientific, technical and mathematical concepts, practices and procedures.
  2. Good attention to detail.  Proven ability to handle data accurately and using appropriate quality assurance procedures.
  3. Well organised; able to prioritise conflicting demands and meet fixed timetables.
  4. Proven ability to work in the field, including a willingness to handle live and dead fish.

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 Craig Robinson who can be reached at craig.robinson@gov.scot or 0131 244 3333.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5739 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further Information for this Job

Person Specification and Further Information for Applicants

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Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Eric Dalgarno

Thu, 2018-09-20 10:00

As we mentioned in one of our earlier blogs, 2018 is both the Year of the Engineer and the Year of the Young Person – and this blog is about one of our many colleagues who are inspiring the next generation with their Outreach work.

This is Eric, one of our Marine Environmental Chemists in our Marine Environmental Assessment Group. Read on to find out what he gets up to.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Eric Dalgarno and I do all the environmental monitoring work as part of the Environment, Monitoring and Assessment Group at the Marine Laboratory. Part of my work involves going on two sea trips a year. One in January to monitor the environmental state of the seas which involves fishing, sediments and water sampling which are then analysed for PHs, PPDEs, CBs and seawater nutrients. Then in September we have the deep water sampling trip. Both these trips involve going round the whole coastline and I prefer the September trip not just because of the weather but because of some of the strange things that we find.

Why is what you do important?
We keep a record of all these results every year to see what the changes in the sea are. We have kept records for quite a lot of years now so gives us a good indication of the pollutant levels. All the results are put into merman which is part of the Marine Atlas. One of the big things that we are currently doing is the microplastics which is all the small bits of plastic breaking down and for example microbeads from facial washes. This work involves monitoring the litter to find out how much is there and what is the predominant make up of it? Things overall are improving partly due to being able to find more of this type of pollution and also the outreach programmes which let people know what is out there and the effect it is having on the environment.

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?
I started working at the MAFF Torry Research Station (TRS) in June 1978 which is now the new SEPA building in Torry. In 1996 I then moved over to the Marine Laboratory across the road once the TRS moved down to York. My job has changed over the years from working with fish factories, experiments on fish during and after smoking in kilns, fish more as food at TRS to now at the Marine Laboratory more chemistry and environmental work on fish. So more than just a swap from the English Civil Service into the Scottish Civil Service. But overall been a Civil Servant for almost 40 years!

If you weren’t doing this, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
My family was from a farming background but never really fancy doing this. At school I enjoyed chemistry and biology so always wanted to work in a laboratory environment. In 1978 the oil industry in Aberdeen was only just really starting so might of looked for a job with one of the oil companies but very happy to have started working at TRS. Have always enjoyed lab based work.

What’s your favourite fishy fact?
The fascinating fish that is found on the deep water September trip. With samples coming from over 2,000 metres below the surface where no light is, the variety of sponges and corals and occasionally unknown species. Many of the species have poisons on them or in them or even teeth so you have to be very careful when handling them.

And what about one fun fact about you?
Not really a fun fact but something I enjoy doing is to continue to embarrass my daughters even when they are in their twenties. I am also still a member of the Taste Panel after very many years of tasting and a final fact which is fun … I also really enjoy whisky… a lot! Finally a close colleague did comment on his driving being but not much fun!

What do you enjoy most doing Outreach?
Working with young people and encouraging them into science is so very rewarding.

Further Information

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Not all rivers are the same: new analysis reveals how juvenile salmon numbers vary across Scotland

Wed, 2018-09-19 10:00

Electrofishing is a commonly used method for capturing, counting and sampling fish populations. Where electrofishing is performed according to carefully defined standards, and combined with appropriate statistical analysis, it is possible to estimate the number of fish in a particular section of a river. Electrofishing data have been collected across much of Scotland for over twenty years, however, they are often hard to interpret without a benchmark to compare against. A benchmark indicates how many fish are expected in a river, assuming that the environment and fish populations are healthy and by comparing the observed fish numbers against a benchmark it is possible to determine whether rivers are producing approximately the number of fish that are expected, more or less. Benchmarks are difficult to produce because rivers with different environmental characteristics support variable numbers of fish.

Over the last four years scientists from Marine Scotland’s Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory have collated and analysed data that they have collected along with Fisheries trusts, District Salmon Fishery Boards, SEPA and SNH to develop a National Juvenile Salmon Density Model for Scotland. The model uses information on the landscape characteristics of rivers (e.g. altitude, catchment area) to understand and predict how salmon densities vary between rivers, regions and years thereby providing a benchmark that could be used to assess salmon populations against (Figure 1). The model was underpinned by electrofishing data from 25 organisations, collected during 3848 visits to 1861 sites in 179 catchments over 19 years. New spatial data analysis approaches were developed to characterise habitat across Scotland (using landscape characteristics) and advanced statistical approaches were used to harmonise the dataset to account for differences in fish capture probability between organisations, habitats, regions and years. The resulting benchmark predictions for Atlantic salmon fry (young fish in their year after hatching) are shown in Figure.1 below:

Benchmark densities

Figure 1 Benchmark densities (those expected if the river environment and salmon populations were healthy) for Atlantic salmon fry predicted from the National Juvenile Density Model for Scotland. Grey lines show rivers where it was not possible to predict fish densities due to a lack of electrofishing data (mainly big and deep rivers where fishing is not possible). Thicker lines show larger rivers. River lines based on digital spatial data licensed from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, © NERC (CEH).

In 2018 Marine Scotland developed the National Electrofishing Programme for Scotland (NEPS), a strategically designed statistical sample of 810 sites across Scotland, delivered locally by fisheries trusts and boards. Data collected as part of this programme will be compared against the new national benchmarks. A further report on this work will be provided by the end of March 2018 that explains overall progress and explores the potential for assessing the status of Atlantic salmon using electrofishing data.

Further Information

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Turning MUSE-ings in to action

Tue, 2018-09-18 10:00

 

MUSES infographic

Increasing demands on ocean resources and the associated conflicts between competing ocean users has made it crucial for us to carefully consider how we use our seas. Over the last two years, the Multi-Use in European Seas (MUSES) Project, led by Marine Scotland, has been researching the concept and the real life practicalities of “multi-use” in the five European sea basins – Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and Eastern Atlantic. This represents a radical shift from the concept of exclusive resource rights to the inclusive sharing of resources by one or more users.

Drawing on a comprehensive evidence base including in-depth regional and case study analysis, complemented by active engagement with relevant stakeholders in each sea basin, MUSES has developed an Action Plan to help make the future multi-use development in European Seas a reality. The Action Plan suggests practical solutions for overcoming regulatory and other non-technical barriers (including finance, insurance and licencing procedures), as well as how to minimise risks associated with multi-use development.

The Action Plan itself will be presented at the MUSES final conference, which is being held in Brussels on October 10th. The conference will provide a platform for those with an interest in blue growth to consider possible solutions for advancing multi-use development in Europe, and will offer attendees an opportunity to learn more about multi-use opportunities in specific areas, such as offshore renewable energy in combination with different types of aquaculture, or tourism sector in combination with underwater cultural heritage or fisheries (pescatourism).

Further Information

MUSES logo

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Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Mon, 2018-09-17 10:00

Survey: 1418A MRV Alba na Mara Programme

This survey will be executed in two parts during the window of 12th September to the 25th September 2018.

Part One Objectives:

  • Live fish capture for tank based trials in our Fish Behaviour Unit (FBU); and
  • Trialing new Vonin ‘Flyer’ headline kites.

Part Two Objectives:

  • Recover (VR2Tx) salmon detectors between Ythan Estuary and Findon Ness by Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV); and
  • Search for two missing moorings as time and tide allow. Last recorded positions for these are: 57° 07.751’ N : -1° 54.141W and 57° 03.271’: -2° 01.912’W.

Procedure for Part One:

Equipment will be loaded onto MRV Alba na Mara at Fraserburgh; where the trawl and wire rig will be rigged onto the net drum. Scientific staff will also join the Alba na Mara and rig the live fish codend on to Bottom Trawl type 158 (BT158). Once rigging is complete the vessel will sail to suitable grounds off Aberdeen and complete shakedown tows with the new BT158 to ensure the trawl fishes correctly.

Short hauls will then be made to trial the new Vonin headline kites and to assess available fish species on the grounds. For the remainder of the survey short five to ten minute hauls will be made to obtain live, healthy, fish for tank based behaviour trials. Fish will regularly be collected from the harbor, by aquarium staff, and transported back to the FBU.

Procedure for Part Two:

For the second part of the survey the vessel will depart Aberdeen and, weather dependant, proceed to recover the salmon detector moorings in the Aberdeen Bay array. The vessel will anchor at each location to allow ROV operations to be undertaken for locating and recovering the missing moorings.

Equipment:

  • BT 158 – New design with guard meshes.
  • Trawl doors, sweeps, bridles, backstrops and pennants.
  • Standard ground gear incorporating rockhopper centre section.
  • Live fish codends.
  • 2 x Vonin plastic ‘Flyers’ (net kites used to generate lift).
  • Moray Marine ROV.

Further Information:

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A Tall Ship Amongst the Nephrops

Fri, 2018-09-14 10:00

Survey: 1318A MRV Alba na Mara

Duration: 25th August – 10th September 2018

Another busy week of TV deployments aboard Alba na Mara for the Nephrops Underwater TV (UWTV) Survey. This weeks efforts were concentrated in the Firth of Forth where we managed a total of 56 TV stations and two fishing operations. Poor visibility meant an additional five stations were undertaken.  This was down to a mix of tide, commercial fishing operations, and other marine traffic stirring up the sea bed. Plentiful burrows were viewed when the visibility allowed though.

Highlights of the week include a small number of Minke whales at the mouth of the Forth estuary. Several were seen over the course of the morning but unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any pictures.

Among the busy shipping channel towards Leith we were lucky enough to see a wide variety of ocean going craft; oil and chemical tankers, cruise ships, and a German registered tall ship the ‘Alexander Von Humboldt II’. One of our stations brought us close alongside whilst she was at anchor so we did manage to get a picture of her.

Further Information:

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Go west….to Greenland!

Thu, 2018-09-13 10:00

We’re excited about bringing you this next blog. Sean, who you’ll read about below, is taking part in a West Greenland Salmon Sampling trip. But what is it and why is sampling done in Greenland? Read on to find out….Copyright of Sean Duggan

 Welcome to my West Greenland Salmon Sampling Photo Blog

My name is Sean Dugan and I am based at the Marine Scotland Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory near Pitlochry. I am employed by Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) with joint funding from Marine Scotland (MS), Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the fisheries trusts and boards. My role involves providing support to local fisheries managers in Scotland; in terms of data collection, data storage, training and mapping services.

I am responsible for facilitating the sharing of data between fisheries trusts, MS, and SEPA. My role also involves working with MS to support fisheries management planning and salmon conservation regulations. MS fund expenses on the trip and my time is covered by a combination of annual leave and FMS.

I have been on the waiting list for this trip for four years and have finally arrived in Maniitsoq, West Greenland. I will keep you updated with photos and insights during my trip. You can keep up with my Greenland Flickr photostream here.

Wild Atlantic Salmon

Scotland’s wild Atlantic salmon fishery generates over £100 million per year for the rural economy. Populations across the North Atlantic have declined in recent years despite reductions in exploitation and many other freshwater conservation efforts. Atlantic salmon have an anadromous life cycle meaning that they migrate from salt water up rivers to spawn. After hatching juveniles usually spend between one and three years in freshwater before migrating to sea. Salmon feed across the North Atlantic and travel as far as West Greenland. After a year or more at sea salmon return to the river of their birth to continue their life cycle.

The likelihood of salmon surviving their marine migration has declined in recent decades to a situation where less than five out of every 100 salmon leaving the Scottish coast return safely. This decline has prompted international research efforts including the West Greenland Salmon Sampling Programme.

History of West Greenland Sampling

In the 1960’s and 1970’s the West Greenland salmon fishery involved vessels from numerous countries intercepting fish originating from North America, continental Europe, Iceland and Greenland. At the height of the Fishery in the early 1970’s up to 2700 tonnes of salmon were caught. Many of the salmon populations from the natal rivers have experienced large declines and some are now facing extinction. Scientists have sampled salmon in West Greenland since the 1960’s with an increased co-ordinated effort since 2002. Since then, Scottish Government have contributed to this sampling effort by funding a Scottish sampler each year.

Four regions in Greenland will be sampled in 2018 by samplers from several North Atlantic countries, co-ordinated by Tim Sheehan of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in Massachusetts.

WHY Sample?

Information collected is used by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas’ (ICES) to provide catch advice to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) including the composition of the mixed stock fishery and region of origin (see map below). NASCO is an international organisation, established by an inter-governmental Convention in 1984, to conserve, restore, enhance and rationally manage Atlantic salmon through international cooperation taking account of the best available scientific information. Sample data is also used to account for under-reporting of catches if samplers record more fish than are reported.

What is Sampled?

Salmon are sampled opportunistically as they are brought to port from subsistence coastal netting operations. Basic characteristics such as length and weight are taken further to the collection of tissue samples to understand the region of origin through genetics. Scale samples are collected to reveal the individual life history of each salmon (e.g. how many years did it spend in freshwater and at sea, what was the growth rate while at sea?). Sampling in previous years demonstrates that all captures are multi-sea winter salmon meaning that after leaving their home river they will spend more than one winter at sea before returning.

All salmon are also searched for the presence of tags which come in many forms and can be external or internal. If the salmon is adipose fin-clipped then it is extensively searched with magnifying glass and metal detector as this is an indication that a tag could be present. Tagging is still the only way to understand the exact origin of each salmon. However, genetic analysis is rapidly improving and now has the ability to assign a fish to broad geographical regions (e.g. countries) with a high level of precision.

Insights from the Data

ICES maintains a database of Greenland tag recoveries with around 6000 records from Canada, France, Faroes, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Spain and all parts of the UK. Analysis show that salmon from Northern Europe have a more easterly distribution within Greenland than fish from southern Europe. Across the West Greenland ports sampled, North American fish were more commonly found in the Northern regions (including Maniitsoq where I am stationed) than European-origin fish (see map below). Based on the time between tagging and capture it is also thought that North American fish take a more direct route to West Greenland than European fish.

 Map showing NAFO Divisions at West Greenland

Further Information:

 

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Vacancy – Zooplankton Analyst – closing date 2 October

Wed, 2018-09-12 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Zooplankton Analyst within the Ecology and Conservation Group of Marine Scotland Science based in Aberdeen. This is a Fair and Open Fixed Term (24 months) 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 main role of this post is to undertake routine taxonomic analysis of zooplankton samples in support of monitoring and research programmes. The post will include participation in research surveys, data entry and ensuring quality control of databases. The post holder will also assist in laboratory management.

Qualifications Required:
You must hold an HND or B.Sc. in biological or environmental science.

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 in identifying and enumerating marine zooplankton using light microscopy techniques.
  2. Experience of fieldwork, performing sampling activities that can be applied to an inshore coastal ecosystem monitoring trip.
  3. Experience compiling numeric data and ability to report in both written and oral forms.
  4. Experience of working with databases and statistical software.

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 Peter Wright who can be reached at Peter.Wright@gov.scot or on 01312443224 or Dr Margarita Machairopoulou at Margarita.Machairopoulou@gov.scot or on 01312443213.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the resourcing team on 01312445597 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job:

You should read each of the Essential 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.

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Celebrating the Year of the Engineer – Going with the Flow

Tue, 2018-09-11 10:00

Flowmeter

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. This month, it’s another of our own in-house creative solutions – the electronic flowmeter.

For many years, towed biological samplers were fitted with a mechanical flowmeter (known as a TSK flowmeter) to calculate the volume of water that passed/filtered through them.

Scientists within Marine Scotland approached their engineering colleagues to see if they could design an electronic version to fit inside their Bongo net. Ideally, there were looking for something which was lighter and easier to maintain. In addition, the new flowmeter had to switch on when it was in the water and had only to count as the sampler was retrieved from the seabed – not for the whole time it was in the water.

With the aid of a custom designed circuit, an innovative piece of programming and an bespoke built housing, our engineers met the specification! Since then, the Bongo net containing the flowmeter has been deployed successfully, each week at the coastal monitoring site off Stonehaven.

Over the years the design has been modified and an external and internal flowmeter is now fitted to a Gulf IIV mackerel egg sampler.

More information

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Supporting science at school with a Royal Society Partnership Grant

Mon, 2018-09-10 10:00

Data LoggersOur Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry and Breadalbane Academy  in Aberfeldy are celebrating after receiving a Royal Society Partnership Grant, allowing them to work together on a project to explore the effects of hydro dams on river temperatures in the school’s local catchment, the River Tay.

Royal Society Partnership Grants support schools to enable students to carry out projects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM subjects), in partnership with a STEM organisation (research or industry). The Royal Society identify successful projects as those which provide students with insights into cutting edge developments in STEM fields, improved perceptions of the diversity of STEM professions and participation in an investigation in which they can feel a personal ownership and pride.

In our collaboration, a number of possible research investigations for S3 students have been proposed, which have the potential to evolve in their duration and complexity. The Royal Society Grant allows Breadalbane Academy to purchase 20 data loggers to monitor river temperature and a field laptop computer for to help monitor their deployment and to download the information they receive and Marine Scotland will be providing the remaining hardware required to anchor loggers in rivers and software to deploy and download loggers.

In addition, Marine Scotland will also provide critical support to ensure data quality and provide centralised data storage and recalibration for the data-loggers. Support is also being provided by Tay District Salmon Fishery Board who will share their knowledge of the river catchment and assist with logger deployment.

This project provides a platform for a long-term partnership between Marine Scotland, Breadalbane Academy and the Tay District Salmon Fishery Board and all parties will benefit from the from data collectedf

Further Information

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Amazing Footage at Half-landing for Survey 1218S

Fri, 2018-09-07 09:00

It’s Monday the 3rd of September and since the last blog post the team here have been squirreling away, successfully collecting video data from all of the planned stations at Rosemary Bank Seamount and are starting to collect still photos and video from Wyville Thomson Ridge. The weather has delayed us a little on this goal but we are back on track, and steaming ahead aiming to collect as much data as we possibly can before we come in to the half landing at Ullapool.

The half landing is anticipated by all staff by this point as stocks of chocolate and crisps have run dangerously low! Additionally at the half landing we will be bidding farewell to all but one of our MSS and JNCC colleagues but welcoming six new JNCC staff to the ship. With the promise of replenishing our snack food stock and a chance to stretch our legs on a little less wobbly footing; it is safe to say that everyone is looking forward to those 24 hours on dry land.

After the half landing it will be a race against the clock with only eight days left on the survey to try and gather as much data as possible from the two sites we plan to revisit; Wyville Thomson Ridge and Faroe Shetland Sponge Belt. The drop-frame camera system is the weapon of choice for finding out all we can about the animals that live in these two protected areas and catching a glimpse into the world they inhabit. If the chariot footage is any indication, the staff joining Scotia are in for a real treat with the diversity of the marine life and habitats within these two sites and the amazing footage we have already seen.

Further Information:

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