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End of summer, no more ShellEye Shinty Sticks!

18 January 2019
Drs Phil Anderson and Callum Whyte, from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), provide an update on the Scottish survey trips.

‚ÄčThe monthly Scottish ShellEye survey trips by the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), on the RV Seol Mara, have now drawn to a close. Out from Ardmuchnish Bay, motoring up the east side of Lismore and doing the "Shinty Stick Turn"  into Loch Creran could be a sweet, balmy trip or more Atlantic in feel, but the track was always the same when loaded onto Google Earth.

Surveys included boom-mounted spectrometry to measure algal concentrations from ocean colour and direct sampling of the water column to measure the numbers of algae actually present. To the eye, ocean colour is mostly affected by the refection of the sky or 'glint'. The algal signature which we want to observe is only a part of the light we see. By comparing the incoming sunlight to the overall reflection at different wavelengths, the spectra can act as a measure of algal concentration.

By comparing the actual algal samples taking in the Niskin with the ocean colour directly, the accuracy of the ShellEye maps can be improved. The work continues next summer when SAMS gets out for another season of shinty.