The flapper skate (Dipturus intermedius, formerly the common skate (Dipturus batis)) is the designation species for the Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura Marine Protected Area (MPA) on the West Coast of Scotland where it displays an unusually high level of site fidelity.
This MPA offers a unique opportunity to study the habitat use, behaviour and population dynamics of D. intermedius and this project will use acoustic telemetry and archival data alongside environmental data to address fundamental questions relating to habitat use to increase our knowledge of its spatial ecology.

There are two main aspects to this project:

  1. Archival and acoustic data collected from previous studies will be analysed using state of the art modelling techniques to infer fine scale habitat use within the MPA.
  2. Using Passive Acoustic Telemetry, the long-termsite use of D. intermedius will beinvestigated using acoustic tags with a life span of up to 10 years internally inserted into the peritoneal cavity. This research also involves the development of suitable surgical techniques to maximise animal welfare during the tagging process.

The aim of these two branches of work is to provide information pertinent to the management of the MPA, furthermore, the work undertaken within the MPA will contribute towards nationwide skate conservation.

Read the final project report here

Project Posts

Final report for MEFS project now available 28 Jul 2022 - The Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura Marine Protected Area (LSSoJ MPA) covers a 741 km area on the west coast of Scotland and includes a complex bathymetric environment. It is characterised by steep-sided trench systems, reaching up to 290 m in depth. The Movement Ecology of the Flapper Skate (MEFS) project started in… Continue Reading
Engaging the Fishing Industry in Marine Environmental Survey and Monitoring 16 Mar 2021 - Surveys using local information from fishers have been used to better understand marine life in and around Scotland’s network of Marine Protected Areas. Continue Reading
SNH join James on his flapper skate fieldwork 3 Apr 2020 - During the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, SNH staff working along our shorelines and waterways provide an insight into the important and varied work they do. Jane Dodd, a marine operations officer based in Oban, wrote about her time helping James with his fieldwork on the critically endangered common or flapper skate last year. Continue Reading
Something a bit different….. 2 Aug 2019 - James recently joined Save our Sharks in the Dutch Caribbean. Continue Reading
On-the-ground conservation of the Critically Endangered flapper skate: a synergy of citizen science, cutting-edge research and governance 11 Jul 2019 - CRMG PhD student Ed Lavender writes about his first experience working in the field with Europe's largest skate - the Flapper skate. Continue Reading