Conserving Scotland's coral
Will Scotland's cold water corals survive as our oceans warm and become more acidic?
This is the question posed by researchers from the Living With Environmental Change-accredited UK Ocean Acidification Programme. They will be finding answers as they voyage around the Hebrides on a mission which launched in May 2012.
A team of international scientists will be using robot submarines launched from the Natural Environment Research Council's Royal Research Ship, James Cook, to explore these unique deep sea ecosystems.
Expedition Leader, Murray Roberts says,
" We need to learn more about how these corals will react to the changes, by studying how they survive now, and by doing laboratory experiments to see how they respond to different conditions. There are also a myriad of other animales and microorganisms which live on and around these coral reefs- we will be examining how these creatures will be affected by changes in their environment"
In the month-long voyage, the Changing Oceans team will visit a number of key sites in UK, Irish and international waters filming deep-sea sponge grounds as well as reefs.
Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson, says,
"The Changing Oceans Expedition will help us understand how thes ancient ecosystems function which is vital information for a sound scientific basis for their future conservation"
A blog covering details of the voyage can be found on: http://www.changingoceans2012.blogspot.co.uk/