ECOPredS in Orkney

For the next couple of months, we are conducting passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) in Scapa Flow. Our recorders are attached to the Flotta Grinds and Sand Eel navigation buoys (link to map), which the Northern Lighthouse Board has kindly given us their permission to use for this study. As well as the presence of harbour seal and killer whale vocalizations, the recordings can be used to detect other marine mammal species in the area, such as Risso’s dolphins, and monitor ambient noise levels.

As you can see from the photos and the sketch below, the top-most mooring ropes are attached to two rings on each buoy. If you happen to be in the vicinity and spot them, we would be very appreciative if you let us know, as there is always risk to leaving scientific instruments on the field. Any nearby marine mammal sightings would also help the analysis of the recordings; in 2019, sightings posted on the Orkney Cetacean Group Facebook page was key for us to find killer whale calls from the recordings at Flotta. Pease feel free to get in touch – our email is

We would like to thank Marine Scotland Science for their assistance and loaning us their recorders, Loggerhead Instruments for their advice on the deployment, North Highland College and William the captain for the charter of M/V Aurora, and Windhaven Cafe, Camping and B&B for their warm welcome and hosting us at such short notice.

(Sketch not to scale)
Example sound clips including killer whale calls from our 2019 recordings in Scapa Flow

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