Deep Sea Benthos of the Rockall Trough Area (1973-)

Data set information

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Data holding centreScottish Association for Marine Science
CountryUnited Kingdom  United Kingdom
Time periodFrom 1973 onwards; samples from all years, many with seasonal coverage
Geographical area

48° N - 61° N; 03° W - 18° W, principally Rockall Trough, West of Ireland, including some samples from Porcupine Sea Bight, SW of Ireland and West of Portugal


Zooplankton and zoobenthos morphological parameters; Fish morphology, age and physiology; Fish taxonomy-related abundance per unit area of the bed; Fish taxonomy-related counts; Habitat characterisation; Habitat extent; Zoobenthos dry weight biomass; Zoobenthos taxonomic abundance; Zooplankton and zoobenthos physiological condition parameters; Zoobenthos taxonomy-related counts; Zoobenthos taxonomy-related wet weight biomass per unit area of the bed; Zooplankton and zoobenthos development stage parameters; Zoobenthos generic abundance; Fauna abundance per unit area of the bed


Pelagic trawl nets; benthos samplers; sediment grabs; unconsolidated sediment corers


The project has primarily aimed to sample the macro and megabenthic community at two deep-sea permanent stations (54° 40'N, 12° 16'W in 2900m depth and 57° 19'N, 10° 28'W in 2200m depth) in the Rockall Trough (N.E. Atlantic) on a seasonal and interannual basis using epibenthic sled and agassiz trawl, respectively. Samples have been obtained opportunistically on these and many other stations using these and a variety of other samplers in order to describe benthic distributions over the entire Rockall Trough and adjacent deep-sea areas, particularly with respect to bathymetry. The analysis of these samples has so far concentrated on echinoderms, molluscs and pericarid crustaceans, but all major faunal groups have been sorted from samples and identified to species where possible. Macro- and mega-fauna are sampled on a regular basis as ship time permits from the deep-sea to the west of Scotland. Length/frequency/species data on fish and plankton are kept and analysed. Benthos: Since 1973 some 444 samples (excluding Otter Trawl catches) have been taken mostly from the Rockall Trough to 2900m but also from other areas in the NE Atlantic in depths to 5000m. Macrofauna samples are normally retained on 0.42mm sieves and sometimes 0.25mm. Net mesh sizes down to 0.3mm are used. Sample processing: normally to major taxa then to family and, where possible, species groups. Partial sample processing of common echinoderms and bivalve molluscs for length/frequency/season data is carried out with most samples. Some material is unsorted beyond major taxa and sub-samples of macrofauna from sample division in the laboratory remain unsorted. Collaboration on taxonomy, where necessary, is with the Natural History Museum, London or the recognised experts in the field. There are strong links with Southampton University, Department of Oceanography.

OriginatorsScottish Association for Marine Science
OrganisationScottish Association for Marine Science
AvailabilityBy negotiation
ContactSteven J Gontarek (Data Information Manager)

Scottish Association for Marine Science

PA37 1QA
United Kingdom

Telephone+44 1631 559314
Collating centreBritish Oceanographic Data Centre
Local identifier1049014
Global identifier653
Last revised2009-12-01