Survey Summary: HWDT 11

 Volunteers from HWDT11

Volunteers from HWDT11

September saw the start of a very busy month for our crew, as Silurian sailed to Ullapool to begin the autumn surveys from a more northerly rendezvous location. Despite some challenging conditions we managed to survey an impressive 290 nautical miles (537 km), collecting visual and acoustic data along the way. Our new citizen scientists spent over 48 hours on effort, looking for and recording any cetaceans that we were lucky enough to encounter, as well as collecting over 43 hours of acoustic recordings.

 Track lines for HWDT11

Track lines for HWDT11

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The sightings on this survey have shown the incredible amount of biodiversity that we have in the Hebrides. In total, we have sighted seven different species of marine mammals including common and grey seals, harbour porpoise, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, white-beaked dolphins and minke whales. Harbour porpoise were the most commonly sighted cetacean with 26 encounters. Common dolphins were the next most commonly sighted species with 70 individuals seen.

 One of the minke whales encountered on the survey

One of the minke whales encountered on the survey

Massive thanks to all of the citizen scientists that joined us on board: Stefanie, Emily, Anna, Norman, Andy and Claire– we could not collect our vital data without you, and it was such a pleasure having you on board!

Thanks also to Scottish Natural Heritage who help fund the data collection programme aboard Silurian.

Feeling inspired to get involved with our marine conservation efforts? Join us next year! We have just released dates for our 2019 season. Come on board for your chance to see more of our amazing diversity of marine life and contribute to our scientific research.

Rebecca Dudley