5th December 2014
need your photos and video
currently has two projects running for which we are looking for
high quality photos and video from participants.
fourth in our series of identification guides is in preparation
and is due to be published next year. The subject is Sponges and
Sea Squirts and is being written by Claire Goodwin (sponges) and
David Kipling and Sarah Bowen (sea squirts). We always like to include
pictures from a wide variety of locations in the guides and it is
also the opportunity to showcase some of the best ID pictures from
Seasearchers. We have a hotlist of sponge images needed which can
be downloaded sponge
list and there will be a sea squirts list to come soon. If you
want to contribute your images contact Chris
Wood and he will send you a Dropbox link to upload them.
second project is to do a makeover of our training and promotional
videos. The ones we have been using are now over ten years old and
have begun to look their age. We want to do a complete makeover
and this time would like to include high definition video supplied
by Seasearch participants. This will allow us to have a much more
diverse library of training dives available for the tutors to use
wherever we are holding our courses. Again there is a specification
you can download Seasearch
Video Makeover and again please contact Chris
Wood to let us know what you think you are going to be able
to provide. In most cases this will involve taking new footage as
the training sequences need to be very slow indeed so people have
time to both look and record. Again we will provide a Dropbox for
video to be downloaded. This project is supported by the Field Studies
both of these projects I am afrad we cannot pay for images and video.
However you'll be fully acknowledged and of course receive a copy
of the completed book/film as appropriate.
Day at the Natural History Museum
1st February will be Seasearch Day at the Natural History Museum
in London. It will be an opportunity to meet tutors and coordinators,
hear about what Seasearch has been doing in 2014 and our plans for
2015, have a look at progress with online recording and new training
and promotional videos, take part in a photo clinic and have a behind
the scenes tour of the zoology section of the museum. There is no
charge for attending but you will need to book your place as numbers
will be limited. Contact Chris
Wood if you want to join us.
in West Wales
best Seasearch weekend of the year in West Wales was the 'Nudiblitz'
- 2 days of shore dives at Martins Haven to record as many nudibranchs
as possible... there were around 22 divers and 31species were recorded.
Many photos were taken and some samples were collected to help with
ID with microscopes set up in the Marine Reserve office. The diving
supported a nudibranch survey being conducted in the reserve by
staff, the aim being to target a diverse range of habitats... at
total of 53 species were found in 2014. This survey is completed
every 4 years as nudibranchs (as specialised feeders and as predators
at the top of their food chain) are good indicators of the health
and diversity of the supporting communities that they are found.
Highlights were nationally scarce species Doris sticta
(Kate Lock), Okenia elegans (Hayden Close - right) and
Doto floridoicola (Richard West) - the last being a confirmed
species by Bernard Picton and has only been recently named.
Seasearch Coordinator in Scotland
are pleased to announce that we have an additional Seasearch Coordinator
in Scotland. She is Georgia Conolly who is a Seasearch Tutor and
was formerly Marine Ranger at St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine
Reserve. Georgia will be organising courses and survey dives throughout
Scotland, complementing existing activities in Argyll and Orkney.
She will also be collating the data and writing reports. Georgia's
role is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage.
means we now have 4 tutors and organisers in Scotland. In addition
to Georgia, Calum Duncan will continue to provide policy input and
be available for courses and dives. Owen Paisley will continue to
organise activities in Argyll (he is also supported by SNH) and
Jo Porter will continue to organise events in Orkney on a voluntary
basis. Look out for a full programme next year and if you want a
course to be arranged in your area or can volunteer help for survey
dives contact Georgia at email@example.com
Survey Forms exceed Observation Forms for the first time
the number of Seasearch Forms this year reaches 1,350, for the first
time we have received more Survey Forms (669) than Observation Forms
(642). This is a measure of how the quality of the records we receive
has increased as Survey Forms typically provide three times as much
information than Observation Forms.
at present, the number of all records is still well down on the
final figure for previous years. Some
more surveys will take place, though the main programme is now completed,
and there may be some forms not yet logged by coordinators. However
If you have forms you have not yet sent in please do so as soon
as possible as we are now starting our annual update. We are especially
keen to receive outstanding data from England where we need it to
inform the second tranche MCZ consultation in early 2015.
the forms received 63% come from sites in England, the majority
from, Dorset (171), East Anglia (152) and Cornwall (149). Outside
of England most records are from Wales (180), Ireland (99) and the
Channel Islands (92).
map (image right) has been created showing all of the sites recorded
this year so far. You can download the file here
and open it in Google Earth.
Training and Qualifications
programme of Seasearch training courses for 2014 is now completed.
We always arrange courses early in the year so that volunteers can
go out and practice over the summer.
We are now starting to plan courses for 2015 so now is the time
to contact either the National or your Local Coordinator to express
interest in a course next year, especially if you are part of a
group from a club or dive centre wanting to get involved.
September, October and November 7 volunteers completed their Observer
Qualification. They are: Paul Roland (IE), Paul Mills (E), Mark
Taylor (E), Adam Stevens (E), Alex and Geoff Marquis (W) and Emma
have had 4 new Seasearch Surveyors in the same period. They are:
Tim Butter (IE), Tom Stamp (W), Tim Parmley (E) and John Lampett
to them all.
proposed Marine Conservation Zones in Northern Ireland accepted
Northern Ireland government is currently working on a programme
for designating new Marine Conservation Zones to add to the growing
network of MCZs (England) and MPAs (Scotland).
Seasearch has been represented at two stakeholder workshops and
Seasearch data has been used to help formulate the proposals. Eight
‘Areas of Search’ have been identified by DOENI including
Native Oyster beds in Lough Foyle, deep mixed sediments north of
Rathlin Island and horse mussel beds on the Outer Ards. Seasearch
has been adding data by planning dives in 3 of the 8 areas, Outer
Belfast Lough, Outer Ards and Carlingford Lough.
We believed there were significant gaps in the proposals and Seasearch
proposed two additional areas of search based on our own records.
These were seagrass beds in Red Bay, County Antrim which we believe
to be the largest in Northern Ireland and unique subtidal gullies
and sea caves at Ardglass, County Down.We have now heard that our
proposals for Red Bay have been accepted for inclusion in the 2nd
tranche of NI MCZs and the features of interest for the Strangford
Lough MCZ will be extended to encompass the sea caves and gullies
around Guns Island.
picture shows a diver in one of the Ardglass gullies.
Saturday 16th August a Seasearch team carried out two dives in Lundy
within the no take zone on the eastern side of the island. We had
hoped to return on the Sunday but the weather had different ideas
with strong north-westerly winds.
targets were to record priority species and the condition of pink
sea fan colonies which we have been looking at on a regular basis
since the sea fan disease hit in the early 2000s. Sunset corals
were recorded at the Knoll Pins, a long known site for this species,
and a crawfish was also recorded in the no take zone as well as
lobsters and noticeably large edible crabs.
the pink sea fan front there were no surprises. Most of the colonies
have dead areas, mostly at the centre where they were affected by
the disease. The new growths at the edges are healthy but the dead
part will never recover. There are also significant numbers of dead
fans, mostly providing a suitable habitat for hydroids and bryozoans,
especially Cellaria sp.
there is little evidence of new settlement either of sunset corals
or pink sea fans with none of the little 'sticks' that are commonly
seen off the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. Thus while the population
of both species is probably being maintained we did not see any
signs of recovery.
pictures show one of the survey sites, Gannet's Rock, and sunset