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Seasearch News

Updated 29th April 2015

New Seasearch Tutors for 2015

We have two new Seasearch Tutors already this year following courses in Cork and Plymouth. Tim Butter (seen one in from the left in the group of divers after a dive in Ireland's first Marine Nature Reserve at Lough Hyne) is the Irish Underwater Council Scientific Officer and an active Seasearcher in ireland. Chris Webb (teaching on the Plymouth course, below right is our Devon Seasearch Coordinator and took us away with the fairies to go diving the following day.

 

Seasearch Courses and Qualifications 2015

The Seasearch Courses arranged so far for 2015 are now on the Training page of the the website and the course programme is now well underway. Most divers new to Seasearch start with the Observer Course and courses arranged so far range from Aberdeen to Jersey with those taking place within the next month in Kent, Northern Ireland, Galway Dorset and Cornwall. Others are still in the planning stage.

There are two Surveyor Courses planned so far, in Devon and Hampshire/Dorset, both during May.

Please book up early for our courses, in some cases there are minimum numbers we need to make sure a course goes ahead.

So far in 2015 eight of our volunteers have cmpleted their Seasearch Qualifications. They are:

Seasearch Observers - Jessi Jennings (Channel Islands) and Colm Doyle (Ireland)

Seasearch Surveyors - Becky Gill (England), Carol Horne (Wales), Lonn Landis (Wales), Rod Sterland (England), Hazel Selley (England) and Emma Collins (England)..

Congratulations to them all.

 

Sea Fans survive the storms

The latest Seasearch Report to go live covers our dedicated Sea Fan surveys in 2014. Sea fans are a priority species because of their fragility and slow growth and are one of the features highlighted in the MCZ process. Seasearch has been studying sea fans for over 120 years and we have a good idea of where the densest populations are, which condition they are in and what the geographical spread of the species is.

In 2014 we targeted sites along the south coast of Devon, Cornwall and Dorset where we feared the population might have suffered badly during the 2013-4 winter storms. Thankfully the damage was limited and populations at sites such as The Manacles (photo right), the Eddystone, the Plymouth Drop Off and Lyme Bay remain in good condition.

We also continued our monitoring on Lundy, an area badly affected by disease in the early 2000s. Recovery is slow. Many colonies have recovered to a significant extent with dead central areas where they have been diseased and living growth around the edges. What is not occurring is the growth of new colonies. This is a simialr situation to the sunset corals on the island, Both species are towards the northerly extent of their range on Lundy and recruitment of new colonies and individuals seems to be infrequent.

You can download the report Sea Fan Survey Report 2014 and the data will be on the NBN soon.

 

2014 Data Entry now complete

The number of Seasearch Forms received from dives in 2014 has now reached 1,554 and all of the data has been entered into the Marine Recorder database. First priority was given to forms from the proposed second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones in England where we wanted the data to be available to inform responses to the public consultation which has just finished. The data has been checked and final amendments are underway before it is made available for everybody to use as usual on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) during.

For the first time we received more Survey Forms (792) than Observation Forms (721). 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 as Observation Forms.

A map (image right) has been created showing all of the sites recorded this year. You can download the file here and open it in Google Earth.

Of the forms received 61% came from sites in England, the majority from, Dorset (202), Cornwall (179) and East Anglia (175). Outside of England most records were from Wales (207), Scotland (140) and Ireland (108).

 

We need your photos and video

Seasearch currently has two projects running for which we are looking for high quality photos and video from participants.

The 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.

The 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 Council.

For both of these projects I am afraid 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.

 

 

 

     

   

 


 

 

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