Unexpected gems in the cold and murky seas off Scotland

By Richard Aspinall 1 year ago
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Last year I moved to the south east of Scotland. One of the main reasons for my move north was the region’s amazing scenery and rich biodiversity, above and below the water. 

This dolphin was photographed just south of the border, but they roam far and wide.

 The water here is understandably a little cold, fifteen degrees centigrade (59 F) is considered positively tropical around the rocky and convoluted coast. While the seas may be stormy and not the warmest, to say the least, when the conditions allow, the diving here can be quite exceptional. 

Trivia arctica or T. monacha

 Cold water doesn’t necessarily mean water lacking in species diversity. In fact these waters are nutrient, and consequently, plankton rich, meaning internationally significant seabird colonies and roughly seventy percent of the planet’s Grey Seal population are located along a relatively short length of coastline.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time photographing seals above and below water as well as shooting several local dolphin pods, but this trip was all about nudibranchs. 

Aegires punctilucens

 These wonderful mollusks that wear their gills on the outside, hence the name ‘nudi’ and ‘branch’ meaning ‘naked’ and ‘gill’, are often seen in shoots from tropical destinations, yet they are distributed worldwide, with some quite amazing species in the very coolest of waters. Here are some of my favorites. 

Polycera quadrilineata

 I should add that many of these are less than a centimeter long and often very hard to see (especially with my nearly fifty year old eyes). 

Doto sp. really small!

 

Janolus cristatus

 

Eubranchus pallidus

Categories:
  Invertebrates, Photography
About

 Richard Aspinall

  (276 articles)

Richard lives in Scotland where he works as a freelance writer and photographer. Richard writes for several magazines on topics as diverse as scuba diving, travel and wildlife.

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