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Marine Scotland Science (MSS) undertakes a wide range of monitoring covering many aspects of the Scottish marine ecosystem.

Monitoring is undertaken in Scottish Inshore Waters, using networks of volunteers and automatic recording equipment, as well as in Scottish Offshore Waters, using the MSS research vessels MRV Alba na Mara and MRV Scotia.

Marine Scotland Science also participates national monitoring programmes, such as:

  • UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS)
  • UK Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN)
  • UK Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)

This group provides published data from monitoring these activities. For many activities, there are national or international standards for how the monitoring is undertaken.

Data Extent


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

Other Access

The information on this page (the dataset metadata) is also available in these formats.


via the DKAN API

Contaminant and biological effect data to support MSFD Descriptor 8 1999-2015 by CSEMP Region

The 2016 assessment of the UK's Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme described the status and trends of contaminant concentrations and biological effects measurements in biota and sediment at monitoring stations in waters around the UK. Assessments were made for a large number of time series, typically each of a single contaminant in a single species (for biota) at a single monitoring station. The results of the individual time series at coastal and offshore stations were synthesised to assess status and trends at the biogeographic regional level and formed the basis of eleven of the indicator assessments that comprised the UK's 2018 MSFD assessment of Descriptor 8.

Acknowledgement for data collectors and contributors:
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (Afbi)
Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture (CEFAS)
Environment Agency
Marine Scotland
Natural Resources Wales
Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
British Oceanographic Data Centre
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Marine Scotland. 2018. Contaminant and biological effect data to support MSFD Descriptor 8 1999-2015 by CSEMP Region. DOI: 10.7489/12111-1

Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-11.075755655766 48.656900618939, -11.075755655766 62.316590402591, 3.0843982100487 62.316590402591, 3.0843982100487 48.656900618939))
Temporal Coverage
1999-01-01 to 2015-12-31
English (United Kingdom)
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Data Dictionary

Data are submitted to the MERMAN database from relevant Competent Monitoring Authorities. A series of templates are populated by submitting officers and submitted to the database which has in-built data restrictions and a data filter to ensure high quality, accurate data are submitted. The data filter has formulae in-built which use Accredited Quality Control information from known standards, limits, standard deviations and/or inter laboratory calibration exercises to calculate a score. Only data that pass a threshold agreed with the national advisory bodies are used for assessments. The data for 1999 - 2015 were extracted from MERMAN. Further data checks were made and records with obvious errors were deleted or corrected. The concentration and biological effects data were standardised to agreed units and bases and, in the case of sediment, were normalised to 5% aluminium (metals) and 2.5% organic carbon (organics). The data were grouped into time series, typically of a single contaminant in a single species at a single monitoring station. Time series with no data for the period 2010 - 2015 were excluded. The data archived here are those for selected metals, polycyclic aromatic hyrdocarbons, polychlorobiphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, imposex (VDS), EROD and bile metabolites. The methods used to assess the individual time series and synthesise the results at a regional level can be found at The results can be found at the same location.

Contact Name
Marine Scotland
Contact Email
Public Access Level