22nd July 2014
looking out for Priority Species
organised survey dives typically target gaps in our knowledge and
current and proposed marine protected areas of all sorts. However
priority species may turn up anywhere and we do like you to tell
us about them, even if you were not intending to carry out a Seasearch
dive. The latest example is this seahorse recorded at Selsey in
Sussex. Luckily Sarah Bignell, who spotted it, was able to take
a photo and Seasearch tutor James Lucey was on hand to point her
in the right direction. Seasearch diver Emma Christison was recording
at the same site so we do have both the priority species record
and the habitat information to go with it. It isn't the first seahorse
recorded from Selsey but good to know they are still around after
the winter storms. Sea horses are a protected species and, if you
are lucky enough to see one, should not be disturbed. This includes
not taking flash photos. However the site where this one is found
is not protected by any of the current designations, despite the
presence of another protected species, native oyster, in the same
Programme for 2014 now in full swing
a shaky start in many areas , with a number of cancelled dives,
the survey programme for 2014 is now in full swing and records are
starting to come in. So far we have 289 forms recorded with the
majority coming from Dorset (87), Jersey (43) and NE England (32).
There are certainly many more forms to come and we have very few
indeed yet from Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Some may be with coordinators
who have not yet registered them. Please ensure you send us your
forms promptly after dives, we are likely to be entering forms as
we go along during the year, especially in England where there will
be a much earlier deadline than usual. As the graphs show the majority
of the records, as always, come from sites in England and the number
of Survey Forms at 46% is maintaining the high figure set last year.
are still places available on many of the survey dives listed on
the Diving page of the website. Contact
the organiser for each event for further information or to make
a booking. Where boat dives are involved we will normally ask for
full payment before the dive to ensure we do not lose out as a result
of no-shows. If the weather forces cancellation then you'll get
you money back.
Sea Fans looking healthy
records of sea fan populations were made at two sites on the Manacles
in Cornwall on 5th July. We feared the sea fan population here might
have been damaged by the winter storms which badly affected other
south-east facing sites in Southern England. We were delighted to
find that the population remains both dense and healthy at this
hotspot site for sea fans. A few of the sea fans at Vase Rock are
pictured below. We would like more records from other locations
to complete the picture so if
you are diving in areas with many sea fans it would be especially
helpful if you could measure and record the condition of the population
using our sea fan recording forms and guidelines which can be downloaded
from the Sea Fan page of the website.
on in - the water's lovely
day, blue skies. little or no wind and flat calm seas. What more
could you want to get Seasearching? Oh yes visibility and that was
about 15m. Seasearch Devon's dives targeted previously unrecorded
sites near Hope Cove in perfect diving conditions (did I mention
current - no there wasn't any all day it seemed). The deeper site
was named Ascidian acres because of the huge fields of Stolonica
socialis (orange sea squirt) and Clavelina lepadiformis
(light bulb squirt). Hornwrack was being devoured by hundreds of
Crimora papillata and finger bryozoans were festooned with
Acanthodoris pilosa egg masses. The second site had typical
Bigbury Bay inclined shale reefs with red seaweeds and a variety
of sessile and animal life, including spotted rays in the gravelly
gullies and Okenia elegans in numbers. The picture is of
an Okenia laying its eggs.
is still time to book for Seasearch surveys. A number have spaces
available and it is always worth contacting the organiser about
last minute spaces which often come up. Get out and get recording!
Survey Extravaganza in Jersey
June saw a concentrated period of Seasearch activity in our most
southerly location, Jersey, with two courses, a week of surveys
and a presentation to the Societe Jersiaise all within a 10 day
period. We started with a Surveyor Course for six local divers and,
thanks to the week of survey dives that followed, 3 of them were
able to get their six qualifying dives under their weightbelt in
double quick time.
week's diving in calm sunny weather allowed the survey team to explore
new sites both close to the coast and offshore, including the Ecrehous,
Paternosters and Rigdon Bank. Records included Channel island specialities
such as feather duster worm, Sabella spallanzani, black
face blennies, and the beautiful Pachycerinthid anemone, still only
known affectionately as Dorothy. We were also looking at sites where
there was maerl, a habitat threatened locally by scallop dredging.
second weekend saw an Observer Course followed by diving and snorkelling
at Rozel Bay.
to Kevin McIlwee, Seasearch Jersey Coordinator, for organising everything,
Will and Bouley Bay Dive Centre for RIB and air, Societe Jersiaise
for the venue for the courses, and all the participants in the courses
and surveys for their enthusiasm and participation.
Seasearch 2013 data now on the NBN
Seasearch data for 2013 has now been added to the huge Seasearch
dataset on the National Biodiversity Network. The datraset comprises
455,145 records and contains 2,831 species. The NBN now displays
the whole datsaet for the first time (previously the Channel Islands
data was not shown) and the map shows the amazing geographical spread
of Seasearch records.
see the Seasearch dataset. You will need to log in to see individual
Training and Qualifications
programme of Seasearch training courses for 2014 is coming towards
its end. We always arrange courses early in the year so that volunteeers
can go out and prictice over the summer. Dates for the remaining
Observer, Surveyor and Specialist Courses are on the Training
There may be more in the planning stage and it is not too late to
organise courses particularly whre there is a group from a club
or dive centre wanting to get involved.
contact the person listed for each course for further information
or to make a booking.
the beginning of April this year 7 volunteers have completed their
Observer Qualification. They are: Gerard Storey (S), Frances Perry
(W), Chris Moore (IOM), Lara Howe (IOM), Abbi Scott (E), Colin Garrett
(E) and Fransesca Monticelli (CI).
have had 2 new Seasearch Surveyors in the same period. They are
Amy Marsden (E) and Andy Grant (E).
to them all.