I recently completed the Shore Thing training course by the Marine Biological Association (MBA) at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. The project is aimed to generate marine records by facilitating intertidal surveys around the UK. It also aims to raise awareness of marine conservation amongst participants and the wider community.
The day began with some classroom based work- learning more about the MBA, the Shore Thing Project; how to collect data and an overall summary of species likely to be found and species of interest. The afternoon was spent putting into practice the techniques we had learned in the morning- performing timed searches on specific species and quadrat surveys.
|Quadrat surveys for the Shore Thing project at Culzean Castle (photo Jack Sewell, MBA)|
The timed searches are designed to look for species which are either climate change indicators or non-native. These surveys produced some interesting results including Snakelock Anemones (Anemonia viridis) and Orange-tipped sea squirts (Corella eumyota)- new records for this area.
|Snakelock Anemones- my first ever sighting of this species. At Culzean Castle (photo Laura Shearer)|
The quadrat surveys on the mid-shore were of great interest. One quadrat revealed hundreds of marine snails such as topshells, whelks and limpets. We also found strings of nudibranch eggs and Sea Lemons (Archidoris pseudobargus)- a real treasure of the rocky shore.
|Spiny Starfish Marthasterias glacialis (photo Laura Shearer)|
|Sea Lemon- note the rhinophores (left) and external gills on the hind (right) (photo Laura Shearer)|
If you are interested in learning more about marine conservation in the UK please see the Shore Thing website: http://www.mba.ac.uk/shore_thing/ or Follow them on Twitter for regular updates: @ShoreThing_MBA