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Marine Environmental Mapping Programme sonar image of Muck Deep MAREMAP

This spectacular image of the Muck Deep, a 318m deep elongate hole in the Sea of Hebrides, was obtained after surveying by the R/V Calanus using a Reson SeaBat 8124 multibeam echo-sounder.

The deep is over 20 km long and 5 km wide and is thought to be the result of erosion from beneath the ice sheet that covered this area over 20,000 years ago. This survey is part of the NERC funded Oceans 2025 programme.


MAREMAP is an Marine Environmental Mapping Programme (MAREMAP), an initiative between the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) to develop detailed seabed and geological information necessary to underpin the future development of our marine resources effectively and efficiently. MAREMAP will bring together the expertise and resources of NERC to deliver a National research programme. Seven themes are proposed

Coastal and shelf geological and habitat models
Deep water geological and habitat models
Submarine Geohazards
Sediment mobility and 4D monitoring modelling
Technology and techniques
Heritage and archaeology
Data and products

From the UK Marine Science Strategy
We need to understand how the location, geographical extent and connectivity of key habitats and species may impact on their conservation needs and therefore on the choice of tools best suited to protect and enhance them. We also need to understand how the submerged landscape has changed through time. Marine science will have an important role to play in informing such decisions - for example, through seabed and habitat mapping - and in assessing the efficacy of such policies by monitoring and interpreting observed outcomes.

SAMS with our partners BGS and NOC, aim to continue to collaborate closely to deliver quality integrated geological and bathymetric mapping for all aspects of marine management in the UK.

Contact: John Howe, Dept. of Biogeochemistry and Earth Sciences

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