MSc Aquatic Ecosystem Management


Field trip to Millport, November 2004

Purpose: Microbiological examination of the Isle of Cumbrae's waters and its offshore and littoral benthos. The practical exercise is marked following an oral presentation of the results. As a further written exercise students design water and wastewater treatment systems for the island. (Click here for the sampling results from the reservoirs)

Click on the thumbnails for a full-scale picture

  Map of Cumbrae showing the sampling sites used (modified from  

Setting off on the research vessel Aplysia. mission: to collect water samples and experience deep water sampling techniques
Surface water samples were collected from 4 sites at the south of the Isle of Cumbrae, and used for microbiological investigation, along with samples taken from the beaches
The operation of the grab, for sampling soft sediment and infauna, was demonstrated
Then it was lowered to the bottom and a sample retrieved
The sample proved to be very soft, anoxic fine mud
The beam trawl was used to collect surface fauna
This included anemones, sea urchins, starfish, brittle stars, edible crabs, velvet crabs, squat lobster, sea cucumber, scallop, cod, flounder and gurnard
At the same time the plankton net was used to collect a plankton sample
During the trip seals were spotted lying off the islets in Millport bay
Samples of water and sediment were collected at a number of sites, and this year we attempted to quantify the microbes in one of these
The summit of the island was visited to get an overview
Samples were also taken from the reservoirs
Millport's water supply once came from these reservoirs:
The upper reservoir
Lower reservoir
Lower, seen from the path to the upper
The water supply was purified through these slow sand filters until the early1970's
Plankton samples were collected by a throw net
While the micro tests were incubating,
Kames beach was surveyed to determine the profile, 
and benthic infaunal samples collected
These are the remains of one of the old sewer pipes, just recently superseded by a new sewerage system
These pictures were taken last year during the construction
The old sewer pipe can be seen in the foreground
Back in the lab, the fauna were identified
Click here for the algal results from the reservoirs

Presenting the results
Click here for the Microbiology results
So long, and thanks for all the fish..