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Centre for

Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

From the shoreline to the deep ocean, tackling issues from pure ecology
and physiology to aquaculture, marine spatial planning and conservation.

Biodiversity and ecosystem function at the Mingulay Reef Complex, western Scotland


The cold-water coral reefs off the west coast of Scotland near the island of Mingulay have been intensively studied since 2003. Our research team has found hundreds of animal species using the reefs as habitats, the biodiversity of which is structured according to local seabed bathymetry, hydrography, and regional-scale ocean currents. As part of our work on the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme 'Hotspots in Ecosystem Research and Man's Impact on the Seas' (HERMIONE) project, we are modelling our biodiversity time series (2003 to present day) in a GIS framework using multibeam bathymetry survey data and complex hydrodynamic flow data. We recently discovered shark spawning grounds on two reefs and are using our environmental data to predict the occurrence of other spawning sites on the complex.

This project is led by Dr Lea-Anne Henry.


Key CMBB Reference: Henry L-A, Davies AJ, Roberts JM (2010) Beta diversity of cold-water coral reef communities off western Scotland. Coral Reefs 29: 427–436