A group of sharks are being tracked by satellite off the west coast of Scotland to allow scientists to learn more about their behaviour.

Twenty basking sharks have been tagged by researchers from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Exeter University in a project to find out more about their life-cycles.

The findings will help inform decisions about marine protected areas and the future management of the country's marine environment, according to SNH.

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The tags, which also allow the public to track the movements of eight sharks online, show that in the past three or four weeks, many have stayed around the Inner Hebrides where they were tagged, while one has made its way south-east to Colonsay and Jura and two have headed west to the open sea beyond the Outer Hebrides.

SNH said its website had received 42,000 hits since it went live on July 15. Names for the eight sharks were chosen from suggestions from the public. They are: Elgol, Solas, Cearban, Gill, Marna, Cailleach, Roy and Fionnlagh.

Dr Suzanne Henderson from SNH, who is managing the project, said: "It's fascinating to see where the sharks have been going. We're keen to learn more about their behaviour during the summer, when they can be seen at the surface in large numbers around the islands of Coll, Tiree, Canna and Hyskeir. And we're particularly intrigued to see where they go in winter.

"The information gathered from this research will help us better understand how basking sharks use the seas around Scotland."

To track the basking sharks: www.snh.gov.uk/about-scotlands-nature/species/fish/.sea-fish/shark-tagging-project/.