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)
Common Whelk Eggs (dried- you find these washed up on beaches all round the UK)
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)
Green Shore Crab (Carcinus maenas)
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)
Shore-Searchers Searching.... reminds me of 'she sells sea shells...'
Snakeslock Anemone (Anemonia viridis)
Far Out Tide....
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,