Around the Scottish Isles the sea is a part of everyone’s lives, either as a weekend destination, viewable from your window, or as a source of livelihood. However, due to the inaccessible nature of the seabed, and the small size of many of the beasties living in the sea, the general public is often unaware of the amazing life living just below the waves, playing a key role in providing food for our table and supporting lots of marine life.

For schools around the Scottish Isles, this public engagement project seeks to use interactive displays, debates and a citizen science initiative to shine a light on some of the beasts and ecosystems that are under threat from climate change.

In addition to stimulating discussion with school students as to the impacts of climate change to their coast and what this may mean to them, by conducting citizen science data from across the Scottish Isles, we will be generating a picture of coastal water ‘health’ and connectivity, identify variability in the food source of local corals, and document for the first time Scottish coral larvae distribution. This will engage the next generation of scientists from these islands in local biodiversity and impacts of climate change, and provide benefit to NERC research and the public.

The project is led by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh;