Silurian Sets off In Style to Launch 2018 Survey Season

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We are all a buzz here at HWDT HQ as today marks the start of our 2018 survey season! Silurian has been scrubbed, her sails rehung and beds remade.

It’s not only a new look to get you excited, but this year boasts of a new boat manager, a new biodiversity officer and some shiny new equipment.

Emma, Simon and Becky, our dedicated boat crew, have been hard at work in preparation and bursting with enthusiasm for the upcoming survey.

I am delighted in be back on board Silurian, and playing an active role in the conservation of my local seas.
— Emma Burgess, Boat Manager
 All hands on deck! Simon carrying out some maintenance.

All hands on deck! Simon carrying out some maintenance.

Today also marks our 16th year of surveys on board Silurian, which has travelled the equivalent of two and half times round the world whilst monitoring marine wildlife here in the Hebrides. This long term scientific monitoring programme has been instrumental in the ongoing process of protecting and conserving Scottish marine life, including resident species such as the famous West Coast Community killer whale pod, as well as seasonal visitors including minke whales and common dolphins. This year we are introducing pioneering laser technology to our onboard monitoring, allowing us to collect more information about the health of cetaceans in the Hebrides.

Our research on board Silurian helps us to conserve the marine environment and the species that live here. We do it so we can monitor species distribution, track seasonal movements and identify important areas. Using our data we are influencing decision makers and helping to change policy. I can’t wait to get back out there!
— Becky Dudley, Marine Biodiversity Officer
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The core of our Silurian research are the citizen scientists who make our surveys possible, every sighting has been collected by a member of the public. Volunteers join our team on board to work alongside the HWDT crew as marine mammal field biologists during these live-aboard monitoring expeditions. Last year we collected almost 4,000 individual animal sightings, and still have some berths available on our 2018 surveys. If you are interested in the opportunity of a lifetime, and the ultimate eco-tourism experience you can find out more about joining a survey below.