JNCC and Marine Scotland Science staff are setting sail for the north-eastern Scottish waters in the next scientific survey at the end of October.
The focus of this 20-day survey on MRV Scotia are the stony reefs of Wyville-Thomson Ridge cSAC/SCI (candidate Special Area of Conservation/Site of Community Importance) and the deep-sea sponges of North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel NCMPA (Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area) .
More information on North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel will follow in another blog post soon!
Wyville-Thomson Ridge has been a special area of conservation since November 2011. This plateau of rocky ground can be found in the Atlantic Ocean and divides the warmer water of the Rockall Trough from the cooler Faroe-Shetland Channel waters. This feature is unique to UK waters, allowing nutrients to mix and a large range of species to thrive.
Another exciting feature of Wyville-Thomson Ridge is the large areas of stony reef, thought to have formed at the end of the last ice age by the movement of massive icebergs.
This stony reef allows a wide variety of marine life to live on the ridge. This marine life varies from deep-sea sponges, feather stars and coral that are anchored to the seabed, to the more mobile sea cucumbers, sea urchins and brittle stars.
Live video footage and images from a camera will allow the team to explore Wyville-Thomson Ridge and to inform how best to protect this unique area and the animals that live within it.
To find out more information about Wyville-Thomson Ridge and the amazing animals that live there head to JNCC’s Site Information Centre and for more updates on how the team are preparing for survey make sure to follow the blog by giving your email on the panel on the right hand side of the screen.