School children are taking part in a project to help research into marine life off Scotland’s west coast.
Pupils from the Isles of Skye, Bute and South Uist are joining scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University for the project, entitled She Sees Beasties on the Seashore.
The initiative aims to turn young Scots into citizen scientists by allowing them to contribute research findings to national projects.
Data collected will help scientists create a map of where key marine animals – known as zooplankton – are found in west coast waters.
The findings will help researchers understand more about how vital zooplankton are to our marine systems, food chain and ecology.
Scientists have provided children in P6 and P7 with kits to help them study marine life in the waters around their local coastline.
Pupils will construct their own plankton nets to catch sea creatures, and identify them using smart phone microscopes and guides supplied in each kit.
The project also gives children, parents and teachers access to online resources to submit their research findings.
The data that is collected by these children will be added to our national research, which is really exciting.
The visits to schools in the Western Isles are part of British Science Week, which runs from 10-19 March 2017.
The project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
This is a chance for the kids on Scotland’s islands to find out how scientists make discoveries, and actually help us find out exactly which beasties are living off the coast of each island.