I recently blogged of swarms of jellyfish occurring in the waters east of Stonehaven during summertime. Well, not only can masses of jellies shut down a power station (e.g. Torness Power Station at the end of last month), but they can also cause ships to have downtime too. Whilst out monitoring today the crew and samplers recounted how last summer great numbers of the common jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) caused the Tempora to limp back to harbour on only one engine. The jellies had totally blocked the water intake for cooling the starboard engine and partially blocked the intake for the port engine too.
But is was not jellyfish wildlife that caught our attention today. Today, as we went about our sampling, we were watched, by numbers of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) and Northern Fulmars, (Fulmarus glacialis). One of the gannets was quite young with brown plumage apparent across its wings. Both the gannets and the fulmars came alongside the boat. The gannets looked wonderfully made up with their immaculate white and yellow plumage and delineated beak, and the fulmars looked cute with there large black eyes. Sadly we did not have our camera aboard, but gladly the fulmars did not spit on us, as can sometimes be the case!
Also notable, although physically smaller, were the vast numbers of decapod larvae present in the zooplankton samples. I took a photo of one under a microscope when I got back to the lab.