Recent survey collections

National Museums Scotland has the following recent survey collections in its Natural Sciences Collection:

AFEN and DTI collections

Material was collected during surveys of the British Isles Marine Territority, including deep water, by the:

  • Atlantic Frontier Environmental Network in 1996, 1998 and 2000
  • Department of Trade and Industry Strategic Environmental Assessment from 2001 to 2007. 

There are more than 100,000 samples, all processed and available with good data.

North Sea oil and gas industry surveys

There are several collections from environmental impact assessments from the late 1970s and 1980s.

Braer oil spill collection

The Braer oil tanker grounded on the southern tip of Shetland in 1993. Samples from the environmental impact and subsequent monitoring in 2003 have all been processed and electronically catalogued.

SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) survey collection and data

  • Many SEPA collections from the Firth of Forth have been given to National Museums Scotland from the 1970s onwards. Collections from other areas such as the Clyde exist but are not held by the museum. 
  • There are 20 years of SEPA reports.
  • The material was collected as part of the statutory obligations of SEPA to monitor water quality.
  • The material has good data - depths, date, habitat, locality, etc.

Scottish Natural Heritage collection

  • Mostly shallow coastal material
  • Collected during approximately the last 20 years - the Marine Nature Conservation Review in 1980 was the first comprehensive survey.
  • Includes Nature Conservation Council material - also shallow water but from pre-1980.

Shelagh Smith Collection

  • Primarily Mollusca
  • Includes mostly dried material, stored in 130 drawers
  • Collected from the 1970s onwards. Shelagh Smith was also involved in the Scottish Association for Marine Science and later Challenger cruises during 1980s.
  • The material is databased with stations, specimens, etc

Department of Agriculture and Fish Scotland (DAFS) collection

  • Material collected during the 1930s
  • Largely unprocessed, stored in formaldehyde
  • Data may need some research to check validity

Marine Productivity Survey collection

  • Collected 2001-2002 during plankton survey / NERC survey cruises of the Irmiger Sea in the northeast Atlantic that took place over 3 years.
  • Formalin fixed, stored in alcohol

This collection is currently in Aberdeen with Steve Hay but is due to come to National Museums Scotland.

SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) collection

Material includes:

  • vertebrates and invertebrates from SAMS, Dunstaffnage near Oban. SAMS retains most of the samples, although selected samples are with National Museums Scotland.
    deep ocean molluscs (some dried).
  • a time series of marine invertebrates from the Rockall Trough 20-30 years ago, and also Lochs Creran and Etive material.

Antarctic cephalopods collection

  • Collected by Dr A L Allcock on RV Polarstern in the last 10 years
  • Mostly stored in formalin

AC Stephen Cephalopods Collection

Mostly from investigations on FRS Explorer (1922-1935).

Isle of Man ‘Effects of scallop dredging survey’ collection

  • DEFRA funded survey from the 1990s
  • 5000 samples

Contact information

National Museums Scotland personnel interviewed:

Susan Chambers
Principal Curator, Marine Invertebrates

Sankurie Pye
Curator of Mollusca