Northern North Sea (2010)


Burrowed mud habitat on the Fladden Grounds © JNCCThey may not be much to look at but offshore deep sea muds, sands and gravels are highly productive components of the marine ecosystem and play host to a huge diversity of marine organisms. The image on the right for example shows the seemingly lifeless seabed peppered with the burrows of a diverse range of shellfish, worms and even burrowing fish. These habitats may also play host to animals such as the spectacular fireworks anemone and forests of sea pens which resemble elegant white feathers growing out of the mud.
Representatives from JNCC boarded the Marine Scotland Science vessel the Scotia in July 2010 to join Marine Scotland Science crew on their herring survey of the northern North Sea to better improve our knowledge of the species present in offshore deep sea mud, sand and gravel habitats. The area covered by the survey is illustrated on the map below.


Marine Scotland Science vessel the Scotia © JNCC

Deployment of video tow frame © JNCC


MSS Scotia Herring survey data points

Forty-nine van-veen grab samples and complementary video and stills data were collected to provide broad scale coverage of the survey area. Examples of the range of marine species identified from the survey are illustrated below.


Pea urchins © JNCCSquat lobster © JNCC Peacock worm © JNCC


Burrowing anemone © JNCCCushion star © JNCC


The data collected will be processed and used to locate search features for potential Nature Conservation MPAs in the seas around Scotland.


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If you have any further questions about JNCC's offshore survey work then please contact us