Exciting finds in Scottish underwater surveys

Dec 24, 2013

What has been described as the 'UK's biggest and best known example' of an unusual marine habitat has been found in a Scottish loch during surveys carried out by scientists from Heriot-Watt, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).

Mounds of mud of up to 30cm high were recorded in Argyll's Loch Sween in surveys by scientists. Made by creatures called mud volcano worms, the mounds cover an area of about 1,630 acres (660ha).

"Rich beds" of sea pens were also found covering seabed in areas near Loch Linnhe in the Highlands and south of Arran ocean quahog clams were widely recorded and found in 'abundant' numbers at one site. Quahog clams are the world's longest living molluscs, with one dredged up off Iceland in 2007 aged between 405 and 410 years old. Maerl and horse mussel beds and northern sea fan and deep sponge communities were also found.

Scottish lochs and seabed were surveyed to better understand the state of marine wildlife and habitats and the studies formed part of work led by Marine Scotland to develop a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The results will also help inform future decisions about marine renewable energy development.

A range of techniques including remote video footage, sampling the seabed and diving were used to explore areas in the Firth of Clyde, Loch Sween, around Loch Linnhe and Orkney.

Thirty-three sites around the coast of Scotland are being considered as possible MPAs.

Explore further: Scapa Flow reveals rare sighting of Flame Shell molluscs

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scapa Flow reveals rare sighting of Flame Shell molluscs

Dec 17, 2013

Led by Dr Joanne Porter of Heriot-Watt University, 12 divers from Seasearch, the volunteer dive project co-ordinated by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) were diving in Orkney from the MV Halton, skippered ...

Scottish sharks to be tracked for a second year

Mar 14, 2013

Scientists are to extend a popular basking shark tracking project for another year, it was announced today. For the last seven months the public have been able to follow the progress of eight of the giant ...

Recommended for you

22 elephants poached in Mozambique in two weeks

6 hours ago

Poachers slaughtered 22 elephants in Mozambique in the first two weeks of September, environmentalists said Monday, warning that killing for ivory by organised syndicates was being carried out on an "industrialised" ...

Pakistan releases smuggled turtles into the wild

11 hours ago

Pakistani officials and environmentalists on Monday released some 200 rare turtles into the River Indus after the reptiles were retrieved from a southwestern Chinese town where they were seized by customs ...

Big science from small insects

16 hours ago

Anniversaries are often a time to look back. But after taking stock of the past, it can be just as important to look to the future.

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

Sep 19, 2014

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

User comments : 0