Firth of Forth marine life mapped

WHALES, dolphins, and other mammals visiting the Firth of Forth have been mapped by scientists and the public.

More than 450 people reported sightings of whales, porpoises, dolphins, and seals to researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh using the Forth Marine Mammals group on the Facebook social network.

Exotic species such as humpback, minke, and killer whales were spotted, as well as common and bottlenose dolphins, and harbour porpoises.

The data collected between April 2021 and April 2023 was turned into an interactive map by Emily Hague, a marine mammal researcher at the university.

“Thanks to the hundreds of people who post on Forth Marine Mammals, we’re able to show the wealth and variety of marine life seen from our shores along the Forth,” she said.

“Until quite recently, the Forth was thought of as being pretty void of marine life, but this group of citizen scientists has helped prove that’s really not the case.

“This project has raised awareness about the Forth’s marine life among the people who work, live and visit our shores, but it will also contribute to science and marine policy that in future might help better conserve and protect this magnificent location.”

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss Andy Dobson’s article about wildcats in the May issue of Scottish Field magazine.