Saturday, 28 March 2015

Sea Creatures At Low Tide: Shoresearch & Marine Conservation Zones

The Wildlife Trusts are working hard on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) right now. This follows the passage of the Marine & Coastal Access Act here in the UK in 2009. The Act makes provision for the designation of a certain number of protected marine zones around the English coast and the aim is to safeguard a range of nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology. Public consultations are up and running right now, so go to the Defra website and the JNCC website to find out more and have your say.

As part of this, and because we don't cover much in the way of Marine Ecology on my course and I wanted to know more about it, I booked in to a day's Shoresearch course with our local Wildlife Trust and so spent last Saturday morning in a classroom learning all about it, and then the afternoon out on the beach surveying for marine organisms and recording everything we found.

All sorts of people attend these courses, from professional ecologists to ecology students to divers to people who are simply interested in the sea, so if you're interested the cost was £25 for the day and once you've done the training course you can then get involved with helping out on the surveys. All the info gathered on the shoresearch goes towards informing decisions on marine conservation, and at present on the designation of marine conservation zones in particular, so it's both interesting and valuable. Check out your local Wildlife Trust website for more info and to find a course near you.

I won't rattle on, instead I'll let you enjoy the photos of some of the wonderful creatures we found. Last Sat was a particularly low tide, it being both the Equinox and the Eclipse and I've never seen the sea go so far out, we almost felt we could walk to the Isle of Wight opposite!

My buddy Dave appeared in the late afternoon as he's a seasoned Shore-searcher, so I latched on to him and learnt more from him in the afternoon as we picked up various Interesting Small Squishy Sea Things :o)

My favourite was probably the Sea Slug, all pink and cute with little antennae that poke out once he's stopped feeling worried, although I do also have a bit of a thing for Snakeslock Anemone, and come to that you can't beat a good crab either :o) Our bit of sea was flat, pebbly and muddy and I think you would get a different set of sea people in a rock pooly type beach (which I wish we had nearer us).


Bladder Wrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Chiton (a type of sea mollusc)

Cockle

Common Whelk

Common Whelk Eggs (dried- you find these washed up on beaches all round the UK)

Dahlia Anemone


Edible Crab (Cancer pagurus)

Dahlia Anemone out of the water (the bits of stuff - rock/ shell - stuck to its sides are diagnostic of this type of anemone)


Flat Periwinkle

Green Shore Crab (Carcinus maenas)

Oyster Catchers

Scallop



Sea Mat (a type of Bryzoan, or 'moss animal'). They are in fact interconnected tiny animals who live together to form colonies.

Sea Spiders (very annoyed when first moved, then utterly immobile afterwards)


Sea Slug (Acanthodoris pilosa)

Sea Slug rolled in a frightened ball

Sea Slug eggs

A Sea Squirt (as M says, what's not to like about a creature whose name contains the word Squirt?) 


Shanny (Liphophrys pholis)

Shanny


Low Tide

Shore-Searchers Searching.... reminds me of 'she sells sea shells...'

Snakeslock Anemone (Anemonia viridis)




Far Out Tide....

And finally, a cropped version of my favourite picture of the Shoresearchers....

 
Another great wildlife day with lots of things I hadn't seen before. I shall be helping out on the surveys again, particularly for the Isle of Wight as that is where all the rockpools are :o).

Cambridge post tomorrow, or maybe Monday... :o)

Hope you're all having a nice weekend,

CT :o)

 

26 comments:

  1. Your usual great photographs CT. I always learn something new when I read your blog.

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  2. Love your post and photos of the seashore CT. (my opinion of Defra on the other hand, perhaps I should just keep quiet!!!!) lol.

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    1. For the sake of diplomacy, I too will keep quiet on the subject of Defra! Glad you enjoyed the post and piccies Ann :o)

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  3. I have all ways been a little disappoint with what's on in Yorkshire with the wild life trust, it's a big area to cover and I understand they want children interested in nature, will keep looking.

    You have found some wonderful things on the beach, best find Snakeslock Anemone, how cool is that. If we had stayed at the beach a extra day I might have had time to look a little closer in the rock pools.
    Amanda xx

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    1. That's interesting about the Yorkshire trust. Hampshire runs some interesting courses and the groups that run through the trust are a good bet, like mammals, plants and birds etc.

      I love the Snakeslocks- fantastic colours :o) Rock pools are such exciting things to search through- one of my favourite things to do xx

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    2. There is a shore walk at Flamborough Amanda, perhaps not quite the same, but a start. We will have to request/persuade them to run events we would like.

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  4. So interesting to see shore life from across the world, so much is similar, but not quite the same, which I suppose is logical.

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    1. It always amazes me what is there when you go looking.

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  5. What wonderful shore searches - and finds. I did a shore walk along the coast at Staithes and was told that sea slugs, given the right storm currents to wash up the right kind, were much prized for the pigments they squirted when disturbed - or in fact they were 'milked' for their colour. Thank goodness our ideas are beginning to change about protecting our sea environments.

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    1. Interested how ideas and understanding changes and developes. It was fantastic to see so much :o)

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  6. Fascinating as always. I had no idea that there were different sorts of sea anemones. I vary between being fascinated at all the new creatures and plants that I learn about on your blog to being appalled at my ignorance! Always great to learn more though! Glad that you enjoyed it. xx

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    1. I don't think you should be appalled- there is an awful lot out there to remember! xx

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  7. Bloody hell CT what an amazing assortment of wildlife we have on the coasts of these fair isles. Your wonderful pictures reminded me of rock pooling as a child, I think the 'Shanny' is what we called a 'Blenny'.
    John

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    1. Fab isn't it? I'm hoping to do a rocky shore line search in a couple of weeks which should yield more interesting species. You're quite right about the Blenny/ Shanny being one and the same- I think maybe different common names depending on location around the country?

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  8. LOVE this post, thank you! The only anemone I have ever seen (and I am a bit keen) is a beadlet, so thank you for these photos. I shall look a bit harder in future. x

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    1. You're most welcome Mrs TW, glad you enjoyed :o) You get different anemones located on different stretches of the tidal zone- the dahlias were quite far out, whereas strawberry, beadlet and even snakeslock are usually found closer to the shoreline/ on rocks at the sea's edge.

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  9. Hey CT,
    You found some wonderful things. I love a good rummage along the beach. And rock pools are my idea of heaven. Love the sea slug too.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I hadn't been beach searching for such a long time and really enjoyed it. Hoping to rockpool before too long- I could spend an entire day doing that :o) Hope all's well with you and the gang xx

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  10. Fantastic stuff...I see quite a few of these things and although I won't remember them all, I will try to remember a few and look out for more on my seashore walks.

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    1. I've just ordered the Collins sea book for IDs- had a look through it t'other day and it looks fab :o)

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  11. Lovely photos and a great selection of seashore creatures. How I wish we lived closer to the sea - I so love exploring rockpools :)

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    1. Rockpools are my favourite too. We don't have any rocky beaches nearby, apart from on the Island :o)

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  12. I would love to go on one of these courses, it is always good to be able to identify what can be found as you are walking along the sea shore. The light too looks amazing in your pictures. I will have to look for that Collins ID book. Sarah x

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    1. You could try the Dorset Wildlife Trust and see if they run anything- you're in a perfect place to explore the shoreline with them, all those amazing beaches near you xx

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  13. Great photos, some strange looking sea creatures.

    Ian
    http://my-wildlife-pond-project.blogspot.co.uk

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x