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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.


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

The Scottish Coastal Observatory 1997-2013, parts 1-3

Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 No 26

This report is comprised of three parts: Part 1- Executive Summary, Part 2 –Description of Scotland’s Coastal Monitoring Sites, Part 3 - Appendices. MSS has been monitoring the physics, chemistry and biology at multiple sites in Scotland’s Coastal Waters since 1997. Parameters measured include temperature, salinity, nutrients, carbonate chemistry, algal toxins and plankton. The data from this monitoring programme provided a thorough description of the seasonality of these parameters and the variation that can occur from year to year. It is also generating the baseline information to allow the Scottish Government to investigate the impacts of anthropogenic drivers such as climate change in coastal environments. Time series of data such as this are very rare and interest is this data set is growing at a national and international level. Requests to MSS to access the data to perform assessments, support project proposals and studentships are increasing. In order place this programme into the context of the global development of coastal observatories, it has been renamed the Scottish Coastal Observatory (SCObs). One of the first tasks of SCObs was to produce a basic description of the seasonality and variability of the main parameters collected; temperature, salinity, nutrients, carbonate chemistry, phytoplankton, chlorophyll, algal toxins and zooplankton. This description comprises a three part report: The Scottish Coastal Observatory 1997-2013 all available to download from the Scottish Government Website. An accompanying data set which contains all the monthly mean values for the 135 environmental parameters and 68 supporting parameters described in Part 2 has been given a doi number 10.7489/1761-1 and can be accessed remotely or by emailing

E Bresnan, K Cook, J Hindson, S Hughes, J-P Lacaze, P Walsham, L Webster and W R Turrell (2016) The Scottish Coastal Observatory 1997-2013. Part X - [Title of part]. Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Vol 7 No 26. DOI: 10.7489/1881-1
Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Temporal Coverage
1997-01-01 to 2013-12-31
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Eileen Bresnan
Data Dictionary

Sites included in the programme are: Millport, Mallaig, Loch Maddy, Loch Ewe, Scapa, Fair Isle, Scalloway, Cromarty, East Coast, Stonehaven. Parameters measured are: Temp – temperature; Sal – salinity; Sec – secchi disk; DIP - dissolved inorganic phosphorus; DSi – dissolved inorganic silicate; TOx - total oxidised nitrogen; Amm – ammonia; TA- total alkalinity; DIC - dissolved inorganic carbon; Altox – dissolved algal toxins; Phyto –total diatoms and dinoflagellates; Phytotox – toxic phytoplankton; Chl - chlorophyll ‘a’; Zoo – Zooplankton. Not all parameters are measured at all sites.

Contact Name
Marine Scotland Science
Contact Email
Public Access Level