Marine Scotland blog

News from Marine Scotland

November 26, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Update on Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan

The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area has been identified as one with significant renewable energy resources, as well as being of exceptional environmental quality. It also an important resource to both national and local economies. There is a need to examine how future marine energy developments can be taken forward in this area in a manner that avoids conflicts with other users of the seas and which ensures that the marine environment is protected. This will be achieved by the preparation and implementation of regional marine plans. However, the process of developing regional marine plans is still in its early stages and marine spatial planning at a regional level is being piloted in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.

To ensure that progress is made while the marine planning process is concluded, a Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) Framework has been created, which sets out a process for the development of future plans. This work, which will have three stages, is being undertaken by a working group consisting of representatives from Marine Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highland Council

November 17, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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MRV Scotia: Survey 1914S – Cruise Programme

Duration: 7 – 22 December 2014

Loading: Aberdeen, 4 December 2014

Unloading: Aberdeen, 22 December 2014

Fishing Gear: Sea-Bird CTD/Carousel, sledge with OPC and CTD, day grab, Hammon grab

Objectives

  1.  Perform routine hydrographic sampling at stations along the long term monitoring JONSIS section in the northern North Sea.
  2. Perform routine hydrographic sampling at stations along the long term monitoring Faroe-Shetland Channel sections: Fair Isle-Munken and Nolso-Flugga.
  3. Conduct combined plankton/hydrographic observations by deploying the sledge with OPC/CTD at previous Aries stations in the Faroe-Shetland-Channel.
  4. Take nutrient, chlorophyll, TA/DIC samples along standard lines.
  5. Make CDOM fluorometry measurements for hydrocarbons along the monitoring lines and take up to 20 HC samples of calibration.
  6. Take water samples for bacterial analysis by Heriot Watt University at locations along the long term monitoring sections.
  7. Take microplastics samples at standard stations including full depth profile along the long term monitoring sections.
  8. Take grab samples at selected stations along the Nolso-Flugga line using the day grab and test the Hammon grab.
  9. If sheltering in a suitable location (around Shetland, Orkney, Pentland Firth) due to bad weather conduct VMADCP survey.
  10. In case that there is time conduct sampling along the following sections (in order of priority):
  •  Fair-Isle-Munken FASTNET stations (“J-line”);
  • Faroe-Cape Wrath Z (FCW, possibly with extension);
  • Shelf edge lines 1-4 in the Faroe-Shetland-Channel.
Figure 1: The three main monitoring lines Jonsis, FIM and NOL (including FCW line).

Figure 1: The three main monitoring lines Jonsis, FIM and NOL (including FCW line).

General Procedure

After departing Aberdeen and completing appropriate drills, the vessel will proceed to the eastern end of the JONSIS line and complete hydrographic stations in a westerly direction (Table 1, Figure 1).

The vessel will then proceed to the Faroe-Shetland Channel. Depending on weather conditions we will commence hydrographic sampling and OPC measurements at selected stations along the Fair Isle-Munken survey line.

On completion of the Fair Isle-Munken line the vessel will proceed to conduct hydrographic sampling and OPC measurements at selected stations on the Nolso Flugga survey line.  Towed deployments of the OPC sampler will be carried out only at selected stations along the two lines in the Faroe-Shetland-Channel.  In addition grab samples will be taken at selected stations along the Nolso Flugga line. Additional sampling (HC, microplastics, etc.) will occur along the standard stations.

In case we are sheltering in a suitable location (around Shetland, Orkney, Pentland Firth) we will use the opportunity to conduct VMADCP surveys.

After completing the above three main priority monitoring lines, we will sample along other sections listed as options above.

 

November 17, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Marine & Fisheries News from other Organisations

Majority of UK public unaware of growing threat that ocean acidification poses to the marine world

According to the results of a major new national survey, published by Cardiff University, the majority of the British public has a very low awareness of the issue of ocean acidification, with around only one-in-five participants stating they had even heard of the issue. Although many other aspects of global climate change are readily recognised by the general public, we know far less about how they view ocean acidification. Researchers from Cardiff University have conducted the first comprehensive survey of the British public’s views on this topic, interviewing over 2,500 people across the country.

The survey was funded by the UK Ocean Acidification Programme (UKOA). It was carried out by researchers from the Tyndall Centre and the Climate Change Consortium of Wales based in Cardiff University’s Schools of Psychology and Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Brought to you by Plymouth Marine Laboratory (www.pml.ac.uk) on behalf of the UK Marine Science Coordination Committee.

For more information about the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee, please visit www.defra.gov.uk/mscc/.

November 11, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Women in Research and Innovation (WIRI) Event

On Tuesday 4th November, three staff from Marine Scotland spoke at a Women in research and Innovation (WIRI) evening held at Aberdeen City Council Chambers.  The WIRI initiative is promoted by the European Commission. The European Union is committed to encouraging girls to pursue science careers. The aim of this event was for the guest speakers to talk about their studies and careers in order to inform and inspire the audience, who were teenage girls at the stage of trying to decide what is the best career for them. The event was co-funded by Aberdeen City council and the European Union and arranged by staff at the EUROPE DIRECT information centre in Aberdeen.

Women in Research and Innovation (WIRI) Event held at Aberdeen City Council Chambers.

Women in Research and Innovation (WIRI) Event held at Aberdeen City Council Chambers.

Photo showing speakers: Sarah Hughes, a Physical Oceanographer, Florence Gunn-Folmer, an Environmental Toxicologist and Yolanda Arjona a Fisheries Analyst.

November 7, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Scotia: Survey 1814S – Cruise Programme

Duration: 13 November – 4 December 2014

Loading: Aberdeen 10 November 2014

Departure: Aberdeen 13 November 2014

Half Landing: Greenock (24 or 25) November (flexible)

Unloading: Aberdeen 4 December 2014

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

Objectives:

  1. To participate in the ICES co-ordinated western division demersal trawling survey.
  2. To obtain temperature and salinity data profiles at each trawling position.
  3. To collect additional biological data in connection with the EU data collection framework (DCF)

Procedures:

Figure 1 - 1814S trawl locations showing core stations (shaded circles). Please note additional stations (open circles) will be added as time allows.
Figure 1 – 1814S trawl locations showing core stations (shaded circles). Please note additional stations (open circles) will be added as time allows.

One trawl haul of thirty minutes duration will be made at the positions (approximate) shown in Figure 1.  Final trawl locations will be decided after Scientist in Charge (SIC) consultations with Fishing Master and Captain.  For each haul, the Scanmar monitoring system and NOAA bottom contact sensor will be used to observe and record the performance and geometry of the trawl and trawl doors.

 

October 29, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Scotland & JNCC do joint research

Marine Scotland Science and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) have joined up to do some research at the Solan Bank Reef Site of Community Importance (SCI) in Scottish offshore waters. Solan Bank Reef is one of 20 offshore candidate Special Areas of Conservation (cSAC) in UK offshore waters. The site is designated for Annex I reef (sub-types ‘bedrock’ and ‘stony’ reef).

On the 27 October 2014, five JNCC staff joined the MRV Scotia to work with scientists from Marine Scotland Science. They will undertake a detailed survey of the Solan Bank Reef SCI to gather seabed evidence to inform the development of a national indicator of ‘Good Environmental Status’ for sponge and other epifaunal communities (http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-6817) as part of the UK’s obligations under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

As the indicator metrics were developed for SCUBA diver surveys, the survey hopes to determine whether these can be adapted for use in deeper waters, particularly for estimating the abundance of different sponge morphologies. The survey team will be using a drop down camera system to collect high definition seabed imagery in order to assess changes in sponge and other epifaunal communities in response to natural variables and human-induced pressures.

Data on environmental parameters which could contribute to community structure (e.g. turbidity, temperature, current flow and direction) will be collected, and imagery data collected will also help improve our understanding of the distribution and extent of Annex I reef in the site and the biological communities associated with them.

JNCC has created an offshore survey blog to keep people up to date with work we’re carrying out gathering evidence to underpin our work on MPA and wider monitoring and assessment. JNCC staff will regularly update the blog, sharing information and images from the survey.

October 29, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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MRV Scotia: Survey 1714S – Cruise Programme

Figure 1 - Solan Bank SAC

Figure 1 - Solan Bank SAC

Duration: 28 October – 10 November 2014

Gear: 

  • Sonardyne Scout Plus USBL
  • Sonardyne omni-directional transponder
  • TV drop frame with lasers, SEA LED lights and wiring harness
  • Kongsberg 14-408 digital camera system (X2)
  • Kongsberg 14-208 digital camera system
  • Kongsberg 14-366 TV camera system
  • SUBC 1-CAM Alpha HD camera system
  • Net-sonde cable
  • VMUX controller
  • 450m polyurethane cable
  • Seabird 911 CTD with fluorescence and turbidity sensors
  • Hull mounted ADCP

Objectives:

The aim of the survey is to gather seabed evidence to inform development of a national indicator of ‘Good Environmental Status’ as part of the UK’s obligations under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).  Solan Bank Reef is located approximately 50 km north of Cape Wrath on the Scottish mainland (see Figure 1).

The majority of the site lies in water depths of 60-80 m, however, to the south east of the site an outcrop of bedrock reef rises to approximately 20 m below the sea surface.  The objectives of the survey are (listed in order of priority):

  • To gather high resolution video and still images along transects and from quadrats throughout Solan Bank using a TV drop frame system (see Figures 2 and 3).
  • To gather environmental data using a CTD (salinity, temperature, depth, fluorescence and turbidity) from the same area.
  • To gather high resolution underwater video and stills data to update existing substrate maps of the site
  • To log ADCP data (current speed and direction) from throughout the area of interest.

Procedure:

Figure 2 - Targeted Stations

Figure 2 - Targeted Stations

After completion of safety drills and exercises, Scotiawill proceed northwards to the vicinity of the Southern Trench where gear testing will be undertaken.  The vessel will then make passage to Solan Bank and commence sampling on the targeted sampling station grid (see Figure 2) and on the stratified random sampling stations (Figure 3).

Figure 3 - Stratified Stations

Figure 3 - Stratified Stations

The TV drop-frame with attached CTD will be deployed at each station allowing simultaneous logging of imagery and environmental data (temperature, salinity, fluorometry and turbidity).  Surface salinity samples will also be collected from the water sampling lab as required.

In the event of downtime because of weather or completion of the two primary objectives, further sampling will be carried out on the habitat mapping stations (see Figure 4).
Figure 4 - Contingency Habitat Mapping Stations

Figure 4 - Contingency Habitat Mapping Stations

ADCP data may be also be collected from positions within the survey boxes as illustrated in Figure 6, the actual latitude and longitude data for these stations will be provided while at sea.  Depending on the severity of weather conditions and wind direction, further contingency sampling for SNH may be carried out as detailed in Figure 5.

Figure 5 - SNH Contingency Stations

Figure 5 - SNH Contingency Stations

Figure 6 - ADCP positions within fishing activity boxes

Figure 6 - ADCP positions within fishing activity boxes

 

 

October 29, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Vacancy: Assistant Marine Chemist Full-time (Closes 11th November)

The main role of this post is to undertake chemical and physical analyses of water, sediment and biota in support of Marine Scotland priority work areas such as marine licensing, ocean acidification, climate adaptation and environmental assessments for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and OSPAR.

This post involves collection, logging, preparation and analysis of environmental samples.  In particular, the post holder will be required to analyse water samples for chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen and assist in the determination of marine carbonate chemistry parameters.  In addition the post will require the physical analyses of sediment (particle size by laser granulometry organic carbon) and lipid determination of biota samples. The post holder will undertake procedures which are accredited to ISO 17025 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, and will be expected to maintain appropriately high standards.