The Annual Science meeting of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland always attracts a wide range of fascinating speakers to present their latest work on an extensive collection of topics. The 2015 meeting was no exception. Kelvin Boot took the opportunity to interview some of the speakers to provide an indication of the diversity of marine science that is being carried out in Scotland.
Lilian Lieber from the University of Aberdeen has been studying the enigmatic basking shark and has found, for the first time, genetic evidence of site fidelity and global gene flow. Kelvin Boot asked her to explain the research.
Phil Weaver of Seascape Consulting was an invited speaker on the first day of the 2015 ASM. He gave a fascinating talk about the challenges faced by deep sea mining and how it might impact on the marine environment. Kelvin Boot began by asking him about the different types of deep sea mining.
Mike Heath from the University of Strathclyde ended a general session that covered a diverse range of topics concerned with improving the understanding of fisheries. Mike takes a modelling approach to try and untangle the whole ecosystem. Kelvin Boot asked him what this approach entails.
The MASTS Deep Sea Forum took part in a research cruise to deeper waters off the Scottish coast to search for a suspected deep sea seep. Akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, what made the scientists involved suspect that this unusual ecosystem was to be found in the waters off Scotland? Kelvin Boot asked Marine Scotland’s Francis Neat what gave them the clue.
Following the successful search for deep sea seeps in Scottish waters the next stage is the identification of samples brought back to the surface. Bhavani Narayanswamy, convenor of the MASTS Deep Sea Forum, from The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) shared her excitement at the finds with Kelvin Boot.
Scotland is ahead of the game when it comes to marine conservation, not least in the publication of its Marine Atlas, and its designation of Marine Protected Areas. John Baxter of Scottish Natural Heritage spared some time at the MASTS ASM to talk with Kelvin Boot, who began by asking him about the status of marine conservation in Scotland.
With many offshore gas and oil installations nearing the end of their working lives the question of what happens to them when they are no longer being used is not far from the minds of many. A special session on Decommissioning and Wreck removal, jointly organised by the Society for Underwater Technology and MASTS, took place at the 2015 MASTS ASM. Kelvin Boot spoke to Karen Seath, CEO of Decom North Sea, to inquire just how significant the challenge was.
A special guest speaker at the 2015 ASM was Jacqui Christian, of the Pitcairn Islands, who spoke to Kelvin Boot about how islanders were working with the UK Government to create the world’s largest marine reserve and how Scotland has become involved.