MSS plays an important part in supporting the Scottish Government's vision of having marine and coastal environments which are clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse. MSS undertakes research and provides scientific and technical advice on a number of marine and fisheries issues including aquaculture and fish health, freshwater fisheries, sea fisheries and the marine ecosystem. Research also plays an important role in marine renewable energy, marine spatial planning and marine status and trends. The nature of the work is vast and diverse and includes boat and shore based monitoring, laboratory work and building bespoke monitoring equipment. State of the art computer technology and GIS systems are used to analyze, plot and present the information.
MSS has been carrying out multibeam bathymetry and habitat surveys in order to contribute to planning for the emerging wave and tidal energy industries. Such information is vital for assessment of site suitability for tidal energy devices and conservation interests. Many of the areas of greatest interest had not been surveyed using multibeam before. Currently, MSS has a Reson Seabat 7125-B multibeam echosounder on board their research vessel the FRV Scotia. They also take video and digital still images using a towed camera in order to ground truth the backscatter data and identify the habitats and species present.
MSS is currently post-processing 260 km2 of data from the southwest of Islay, which harbours tides in excess of 4 m/s and is of great interest to the tidal energy industry. The multibeam survey revealed some dramatic scenery; the seabed shelves steeply south of the Rhinns of Islay from 40 to 80 metres coincidental with fracturing associated with the Great Glen Fault and to the north of the fault there are sites containing exposed rocky reef communities characteristic of strong tidal streams. Large examples of the elephant’s ear sponge (Pachymatisma Johnstonia) were found, as well as walls of the soft coral, dead man’s fingers (Alcyonium Digitatum) and anemones such as the jewel anemone (Corynactis Viridis and Sagartia).
The CARIS HIPS and SIPS training course has greatly improved MSS’ workflow and understanding of the data. When completed, the Islay dataset will be made available on MSS’ website Marine Scotland Interactive, along with past surveys of the Pentland Firth, the west coast of Lewis and many more.
Established in 1979, CARIS is a leading developer of geospatial software. The CARIS Ping-to-Chart™ product line delivers an integrated software solution for the entire workflow of hydrographic information from the echosounder "ping" through to the production and distribution of the "chart". CARIS products are continually selected by hydrographic offices, military agencies, survey contractors, ports and harbours, municipalities, land administrators and academia among others. In addition to its Canadian headquarters, CARIS has offices in The Netherlands, United States, Australia and United Kingdom. There are also more than 20 resellers bringing sales and support of CARIS brand software to more than 85 countries.
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