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Marine Scotland's main science facilities are at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen and the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry. There are also field stations in Montrose and Shieldaig, which are supported by the Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory. In addition there are two research vessels, the MRV Scotia and MRV Alba na Mara, that provide an excellent base from which to study both our near shore and offshore ecosystems, including the deep waters to the west of Scotland.
In addition to the two large ships, Marine Scotland Science operates several smaller ships, one of which is dedicated to the ecosystem monitoring site located 3 nautical miles from Stonehaven, 15 miles south of Aberdeen. This site has been sampled on a weekly basis since 1997 for temperature, salinity, nutrients, chlorophyll, phytoplankton and zooplankton. More recently samples have been collected for the assessment of ocean acidification. Marine Scotland Science operates a second ecosystem monitoring site at Loch Ewe on the west coast of Scotland and has other coastal monitoring sites, at which primarily temperature and salinity are measured, around the Scottish coast.
The Marine Laboratory has had a presence in the south-east of Aberdeen since 1898. Although it has had a strong focus on fisheries (demersal, pelagic) and shellfisheries, there has always been an environmental component to the science, and aquaculture in particular has become a significant area of research in the last 30 years.
Shore-based activities at the Marine Laboratory are conducted in well-equipped laboratories and aquaria. These cover areas including analytical chemistry (contaminants, nutrients, ocean acidification, micro-plastics), biology, ecotoxicology, acoustics, virology, bacteriology, pathology, physics, ecology, plankton, otolith reading, fish scale reading and a fish house.