Marine Scotland blog

News from Marine Scotland

April 17, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Analytical Unit weekly update – 16 April 2014

This week’s update from the Marine Analytical Unit has been published, featuring an article highlighting the key figures from the provisional Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2013 released yesterday.

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April 16, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Marine Scotland supports Science Superhero Day

On 22 March 2014, 20 volunteers from Aberdeen – including Sarah Hughes from Marine Scotland Science – worked in two shifts to deliver the superhero day at Aberdeen’s Satrosphere. In each session, six scientists from different disciplines attempted to blend into the crowd, not an easy task when wearing a bright red superhero cape and a T-shirt shouting “Talk to me, I’m a scientist”.

April 15, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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Good Practice Guide for Underwater Noise Measurement published

A Good Practice Guide for Underwater Noise Measurement has been published, giving guidance on best practice for in-situ measurement of underwater sound, for processing the data, and for reporting the measurements using appropriate metrics.

From a scientific point of view, accurate acoustic measurements are needed for a diverse range of disciplines such as acoustical oceanography, sonar, geophysical exploration, underwater communications, and offshore engineering. However, measurements also have an important and increasing role to play in offshore marine licensing to ensure that good quality, standardised information is included in environmental statements.

At the momenty, measured noise levels are sometimes difficult to compare because different measurement methodologies or acoustic metrics are used, and results can take on different meanings for each different application, leading to a risk of misunderstandings between scientists from different disciplines. Although this Good Practice Guide is not intended as a standard, these guidelines address the need for a common approach, and the desire to promote best practice.

April 15, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Sargasso Sea Commissioners sought

The Hamilton Declaration on Collaboration for the Conservation of the Sargasso Sea in March 2014 was open for signature in March 2014. The Declaration provides for the establishment of a Sargasso Sea Commission, composed of distinguished scientists and other persons of international repute committed to the conservation of high seas ecosystems. Initially there will be only five Commissioners to serve on the Commission for a period of three years. The composition of the Commission should aim to reflect a balance of geographic distribution and diverse expertise and experience. The relevant fields of experience include:

  • Ecosystem-based fisheries management
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Oceanography
  • Marine ecology
  • Marine geology
  • Endangered and threatened marine species (eg whales, turtles, eels, birds, etc)
  • Environmental and human use impact assessments
  • Economic evaluation
  • International law and marine policy

Remuneration:
Commissioners serve without remuneration.  Modest funds to cover travel expenses may be made available when it is necessary for Commissioners to attend meetings associated with the Commission Work Programme.

Nomination Process:
Nominations packages are to include a full CV as well as a statement of interest (not to exceed one page) articulating how the nominee’s expertise and experience satisfies the selection criteria.  These should be sent to Dr Kate Killerlain Morrison of the Sargasso Sea Alliance at kmorrison@sargassoalliance.org by 30 April 2014.

If you have other questions related to this notice please contact Louise Savill, Foreign and Commonwealth Office at louise.savill@fco.gov.uk

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/.

April 15, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Devil in disguise: A small coral-eating worm may mean big trouble for reefs

New research from the University of Southampton has identified a coral-eating flatworm as a potential threat for coral reefs. The scientists from the University of Southampton, who are based at the Coral Reef Laboratory in the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, published the results of their research in the latest issue of the journal Coral Reefs.

Read the article

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/.

April 11, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Otter Onboard in Oban

While talking to a local skipper and carrying out some duties on the South Pier in Oban, Fishery Officer Iain MacEachan found a hungry otter helping himself to some fish!  The otter had climbed through the net, which was hanging from the stern of the skipper’s boat and appeared on deck.  The otter had a look at Iain, and the skipper, then carried on eating the bits of fish still caught in the net.  Having shown that he wasn’t at all shy Iain managed to get a picture of the hungry scamp!
Otter feeding on fish

Otter feeding on fish

April 10, 2014
by Ruth Allen
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ICES Science Fund supports eight innovative projects

From 100 years of Baltic change to improving fisheries management through behavioural economics, ICES (which included members of  Marine Scotland) announces eight projects to be supported by the newly established ICES Science Fund.

“We received many diverse and interesting proposals but focused on projects that will add value to ICES Science Plan, are feasible, and engage both academic and government institutions. Scientists in the early stages of their career were given a preference in the selection process”, explains Yvonne Walther, Chair of ICES Science Committee (SCICOM), which was responsible for selecting the successful proposals.

“Making a selection was hard but the process used SCICOMs wide variety of expertise. What we are doing, in fact, is creating opportunities and leading ICES science into a certain direction in the future”, Walther elaborated.

All projects will have two partners, reflecting shared leadership between academic and government research institutions.

 

April 9, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Scientists warn ocean food supply may be impacted by rising CO2

Ocean acidification research involving scientists from the UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) is featured on NBC in the USA today. The feature concerns the search for evidence of what our oceans will look like if carbon dioxide levels continue to increase. Thirty percent of the carbon dioxide, or CO2, released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, leading to a process called acidification. Shellfish and coral reefs are particularly impacted. NBC’s Ann Curry reports.

Read the article

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/.

April 4, 2014
by Lyndsay Cruickshank
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Oceanographers hit the road with Mini-Tour

For National Science and Engineering Week (14-23 March 2014), oceanographers from Marine Scotland hit the road with a mini-tour of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, taking their “All At Sea: The story of ocean drifters” workshop to six different primary schools.

Record Breaking Drift Bottle

The workshop, which was developed by Bee Berx and Sarah Hughes, was first presented to Mile End primary school in October. Now things were getting serious, as the team aimed to present the workshop eight times over the course of four days, reaching more than 200 children in Primary 5-7, aged between 9 and 11.

During the workshop, which typically lasted 2 hours, the Marine Scotland oceanographers explained how ocean currents are measured; comparing the early techniques of drift bottles with more modern satellite tracked drifters and fixed point current meters. The story of how scientists used the ‘message in a bottle’ technique really captured the children’s imagination and in a hands-on part of the workshop they got to see our record breaking bottle. Marine Scotland currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest time a message in a bottle has spent at sea – 97 years and 309 days.

Investigating a ‘holey sock drogue’

In another part of the hands-on workshop, the pupils were able to assemble a real-life Code-Davis drifter, the type Marine Scotland has recently used for validation of the Brahan surface current radar system. They were also able to investigate a ‘holey sock drogue’ with most of them quickly working out it was fun to crawl through, just like a play tunnel.

The children also enjoyed examining some parts of an Aanderaa current meter and most found it very amusing that the internal memory cards, which are almost the size of a house brick, hold so little data by today’s standards: not even a single MP3 song.

During the workshop, the pupils discovered a little about the work of Marine Scotland and the importance of understanding ocean currents. By linking this to climate, the travelling habits of marine species, renewable energy and marine litter, the workshop also offered relevant links to many areas of the school curriculum. EMini Drifters built and tested during the workshopxamining the development of measurement techniques covered a bit of history and examining maps of ocean currents offered a chance to test their geography knowledge. Children build and test their own mini drifter

The workshop ended with a craft/modelling activity in which the children built and tested their own mini drifter.

This offered them a chance to work together and an opportunity to get creative by designing their drifter’s sails. Marine Scotland scientists running the workshop were impressed by the enthusiasm and interest expressed by the children. Based on some of the questions, it might just inspire some of the children to consider a career in marine science.