Coastal Monitoring Site: Scapa Pier
The Orkney Isles are an archipelago of up to 70 islands which lie just over 50 miles north of the Scottish mainland. They are separated from the UK mainland by the Pentland Firth, a tidally dynamic area where the waters of the Atlantic meet the waters of the North Sea. Compared to the outer coastline of Orkney Islands, Scapa Flow is a very sheltered region in a central position, surrounded by the islands and protected from exchange with the open seas by the Churchill barriers. Scapa Bay in the north east of Scapa Flow is a very sheltered site in a sheltered coastline.
Multiple parameters have been measured at the Scapa Bay site in Orkney since 2001 whilst toxin producing phytoplankton have been sampled since 1997 and temperature measurements have been recorded at Scapa Pier since 1999. The minilogger recorder is suspended from the pier at a fixed datum, a depth of 1m below the level of the lowest tide. Samples are collected by Orkney Islands Council Marine Services and their input into the success of this programme is gratefully
Prior to 2003 phytoplankton samples were taken from the centre of Scapa Bay. Since 2003 these samples have been taken from Scapa pier.