JNCC Offshore Survey Blog

As part of our statutory responsibility to recommend Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in UK offshore waters (beyond 12 nautical miles), JNCC gathers information to help support these recommendations; either by searching and retrieving existing information, or through collaborative or commissioned survey. Once these MPAs have been identified, further information gathered through survey may be required to deliver management measures and conservation advice. JNCC survey work takes place throughout the year and our staff who join the research vessels will blog throughout the survey sharing information and images from the survey.


JNCC Offshore Survey blog

  • Survey work begins on the mid-point of the Hebridean Slope
    It’s 7.30pm on 19th July and we have just arrived on site to begin our survey work within the Geikie Slide and Hebridean Slope Nature Conservation MPA. With the camera drop-frame all rigged up, we begin the descent into depths of our first priority area; positioned in approximately 600 to 800m of water on the mid-point of the Hebridean Slope.
    Having ‘bagged’ just five 150m-long camera tows of seabed imagery, the first thing we noticed was just how diverse these sampling stations less than a few miles apart can actually be at this depth; from fine sandy muds pitted with burrows of crustaceans, to coarser sediments where feeding tracks of echinoderms and an abundance of tiny brittlestars can be seen. We were also greeted by a number of deep-water fish species including Molva sp. and Lophius sp. In one particular shot of a lonely boulder we found an abundance of life; including large barnacles feeding, pencil urchins and anemones.
    As midnight approached, it was time to try our hand at the box coring, a sampling technique that allows us to take a sample of the seabed for more detailed analysis. More to follow on this in our next blog instalment! Stay tuned...

    Box corer deployment. © JNCC/MSS (2016)

    Monkfish (Lophius sp) on coarse sediment. © JNCC/MSS (2016)
    Abundant brittlestars on coarse sediment. © JNCC/MSS (2016)

                                           Boulder with squat lobster, anemones, pencil urchins                                          and feeding barnacles. © JNCC/MSS (2016)

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