Following on from our previous work on saline lagoons in Uist, fellow Invertebrate Biologist Fiona Ware and I recently visited Skye on a further search for animals specialised for living in saline lagoons.
Previous studies had included three sites on Skye as saline lagoons: Pool Roag; Loch na h’Airde; and An t’Ob; so we set off to investigate these lagoons, taking salinity readings and collecting invertebrates for further research.
With two of the lagoons we got lucky and could park relatively nearby, but Loch na h’Airde was an eight mile round trip along a shore path, armed with rucksack, a large handnet and a bucket! Not smooth and not flat! It was worth the walk to see the lochan though, which is connected to the sea by a man-made canal, possibly dug by Vikings to get boats to shelter.
The samples are now at the National Museums Collection Centre, where they will be examined in the coming months by ourselves and a TCV (Trust for Conservation Volunteers) trainee, who we will be recruiting specifically to work on this project. Having looked at lagoons on Uist, the Firth of Forth and Skye, we are hoping to extend this research with surveys of all saline lagoons in Scotland.