FRV Alba Na Mara 1314A

Cruise plan

Cruise Info. 
Ship name (ship code)FRV Alba Na Mara (74NM)
Cruise identifier1314A
Cruise period2014-07-25 — 2014-08-05
Port of departureUllapool, United Kingdom
Port of returnUllapool, United Kingdom

1. To sample plankton communities using the large bongo net at 43 stations. Circumstances allowing, double oblique tows will be performed at each station. Collected samples will be stored in isopropanol and will be analysed in the laboratory later for the presence of Atrina fragilis and other priority marine species.
2. To collect depth-stratified larval and water samples in the Sound of Canna over a 48 hour period using MSS's Ocean Sampler. Collected samples will be stored in isopropanol.
3. To sample the variation in temperature and salinity in the water column at each sample station using a Seabird CTD sampler. The CTD will be deployed in conjunction with a multi-bottle water sampler.
4. To collect water samples at each site for the purposes of calibration. Water samples will be taken prior to the deployment of the large bongo nets. Sampled depths will vary between stations.
5. To retrieve and redeploy the McLane Zooplankton Sampler (ZPS) within the Sound of Canna.
6. To investigate, time permitting, areas that may provide potentially suitable habitats for various priority marine species using the drop-camera frame.
7. To collect 0-group sandeels (Ammodytes marinus) from two banks in the North Minch for later analysis. Samples will be frozen in order to preserve aspects of their otolith chemistry.


Scientific equipment will be loaded onto Alba na Mara on 22 July 2014. Scientists will join the vessel in the afternoon of Thursday 24 July, with the vessel proceeding to the first sample station and then onwards to the Small Isles the following day. Daily scientific sampling will occur between 04:00 and 16:00 hours (all times UTC). Plankton samples (collected using the large bongo net), water samples, and CTD transects will be taken at each station during the transit to the Small Isles.

A depth-stratified survey of plankton in the Sound of Canna will be conducted using the Ocean Sampler over the next two days. The retrieval and redeployment (the next day) of the McLane Zooplankton Sampler (ZPS) within the Sound of Canna will also be conducted during this phase of the cruise. Three drop camera surveys will be conducted in the waters surrounding the Small Isles as will the collection of further plankton samples using the large bongo net. It is anticipated that the vessel will make way for Mallaig on 30 July to facilitate the transfer of scientific staff.

On the morning of 31 July, the vessel will resume the programme of plankton sampling using the large bongo net, sampling from the wider area of the Minch. In addition, 0-group sandeels will be collected from two banks in the North Minch using a modified scallop dredge. It is expected that the vessel will finish the programme of plankton sampling on 4 August during transit to Ullapool. Unloading will occur on the morning of 5 August. Normal contacts will be maintained with the Marine Laboratory.
Chief scientistPhilip Boulcott (Marine Scotland Aberdeen Marine Laboratory)
Cruise programmeFRV Alba Na Mara 1314A cruise programme 1314a.pdf  (0.41 MB) 
Ocean/sea areas 
GeneralInner Seas off the West Coast of Scotland
SpecificNorth Minch. Sound of Canna.