skip to main content

Isle of May NNR

There has been a research programme on the Isle of May since 1966 when the Nature Conservancy first declared the island a National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Research on the Isle of May is facilitated and supported by SNH in association with a number of organisations. The lead organisations are the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology external site   and The Sea Mammal Research Unit external site . In addition to this a number of universities and colleges work on the island.

The research undertaken on the island is internationally important. The quality and continuity of research undertaken helps to maintain the island's reputation as a key research site. The island is regarded as one of the top ten sites for seabird research in the world. The seal research is unique in Europe and one of only a handful of such studies being carried out globally. Most research undertaken on the Isle of May contributes to our wider understanding of seabird and seal ecology.

Seal research

As seabirds, are relatively easy to observe, they provide a cost-efficient way of monitoring the status of key components of marine food webs, acting as an indicator species for the wider marine environment. Seabirds respond to different types of physical and biological change in the ocean. By playing close attention to them we can see when and where changes are occurring.

Seabird research

Changes in seal populations and ecology are also an indicator for the marine environment. The numbers of marine mammals, and where they are, responds to changes lower down the food chain. Consequently, changes in marine mammal distribution, abundance and behaviour may indicate changes in other parts of the ecosystem.

Last updated on Friday 16th June 2017 at 09:26 AM. Click here to comment on this page