It's Competition Time!



For the month of August we are running a competition to win tickets to the screening of your choice of the Ocean Film Festival Tour. It's back for 2017 and screening some of the world’s most inspirational and mesmerising ocean films around the UK this September and October. 

Dive into this brand-new collection of films, each featuring incredible cinematography from rarely explored corners of the ocean! Take the plunge with world-champion freedivers as they explore a haunting shipwreck, cast off with nomadic sailors tackling Antarctica’s treacherous waters, and meet the most mind-blowing marine creatures imaginable. See the trailer. 

Photo credit: Perrin James. Diver: Kimi Werner.

How to be in with a chance of winning...

To win a pair of tickets to the screening of your choice all you have to do is get out surveying and submit your data online at The volunteers who carry out the most amount of quadrat surveys & submits the data online will win 2 tickets…it is as simple as that.

The competition runs from the 1st August until the 22nd August so that gives you 3 whole weeks to get out and enjoy your local rocky shores.



Terms & Conditions:

Winners will be chosen by the number of quadrat data submitted. Only 2 winners per hub location. Data submissions will be counted from 12:00pm on the 1st August until 22nd August at 11:59pm.  Cost of getting to screening location is not covered. Winner will be contacted by email by 26th August where you pick the screening date and location of your choice and tickets will be available to collect on the door. Guest of winning volunteer does not have to be a CoCoast volunteer. 

CoCoasting in the Scottish sunshine

Meet Anthony and Mel, our duo of top CoCoasters for Summer 2017 based in Scotland...















"Signing up was actually all Mel’s idea. She’s always loved hopping about rock pools, while I was more to be found on top of rocks looking out for seabirds. But her enthusiasm won me over, and the day with Hannah Grist teaching us the ropes made it seem all the more appealing. Somehow I became enthused about barnacles (not just because it meant my quadrat was much more portable….), while Mel went down the route of anenomes.

All of which has lead to us spending even more time on seashore rocks, and spotting things we’d never really noticed before. A definite highlight for Mel was finding a first blue-rayed limpet (though a first live sea urchin, and first strawberry anenomes also ranked highly); while I spent a good ten minutes on one coastal trip voyeuristically engrossed in a couple of hermit crabs mating. But the most interesting moment for me was finding some just-submerged barnacles, and seeing, for the first time, close-up, the little fanned feet combing the water.

Mel has definitely been the more actively recording of the two of us, as it took me a while to get to grips with barnacle identification. I think I’m there on some key differences now, and a recent trip to Skye saw me photographing and recording a couple of different species. So after a slow start on my part, I now take the little quadrat with me whenever there’s any chance at all of a coastal walk. Mel, meanwhile, will continue apace!" - Anthony, CoCoast Scotland.



















Site details for 20 CoCoast SW survey sites!!!

We now have information for 20 CoCoast survey sites in our available online. Each site has details of a designated area for timed search surveys and many sites have GPS coordinates for low and mid shore zone quadrat surveys, following levelling at those sites. These survey sites are distributed across ten different subregions shown in the map below:

You can access site information via our public google community (link, no account required) or, if you are on facebook, we also have this information available in a public Facebook group (link). We hope this will help you to conduct future CoCoast surveys and this is just the beginning. You can help us to contribute to this information by:

  • Suggesting new survey sites
  • Helping us to obtain GPS points for quadrat survey shore zones
  • Sending updates to information for specific sites

We will also be publishing details of data collected at these sites and asking for people to help to fill “data gaps”.

We would love to hear from you if you are keen to survey one or more of these sites or if you have any questions or suggestions. So please get in touch via or 01752 426349


Race To Recovery

Last week, I travelled to Bembridge for our Race to Recovery survery. It's a survey which gathers data about the ability of marine rocky shore communities to recover following disturbances, in particular storm activity. Storms and rough seas clear large areas of rocky shores and strong waves can dislodge communities. The intensity and frequency of storms are predicted to rise with climate change so we want to know if species can recover from the damage. 

The survey is carried out in June and September across 30 sites nationally, but here at the CoCoast SE Hub we survey Bembridge on the IoW and Portland in Dorset. It is a relatively simple survey (in theory!) where you place a 50 x 50 cm quardat on markers placed on the shore....if you can find them! The abundances of different groups of seaweeds, as well as number of limpets are counted.

I was up bright and early for the 7am ferry to cross the Solent and arrived at bembridge about 8:15am. The tide was still dropping but as I waited I did a little bit of rock pooling and noting any species for Shoresearch (another survey done by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust) and enjoyed the view.

Once, the tide had dropped enough, I headed out to try and find the first co-ordinates and markers. After a few minutes of walking around in circles, I came across a few markers. The sun had started to shine so the reflections of the little silver discs were really helpful! 

After a few hours on the shore, I had managed to find 17 out of the 20 markers but marker number 26 was playing hard to get...or find! I kept on putting in the co-ordinates and the GPS would tell me approaching co-ordinates but alas, the markers were no where to be found. Had a little rummage around in the seaweed and still nothing. Tried again and after 35 minutes of looking, I was sucessful. You may have seen on Twitter but I did do a little celebratory dance when I found it. After another hour of looking, the tide was coming back in so had to give up the search but 18/20 markers wasn't bad for my first time on the beach. 

This survey will be happening again in September so if you'd like to get involved in the South, please drop us an email ( as you don't have to be trained, only registered with Capturing Our Coast to get involved. I was considering purchasing a metal detector as it may make the job easier but where is the fun in that?!

This survey is really important as the data we will collect will help us understand how biological communities recover from storm disturbance and whether there are patterns across the UK in how the recovery occurs. We also want to know how long it takes for the community thtat was there before the disturbance to re-establish itself and what species recover quicker.

On my way back to the car, I also noted a new lug worm casts so watch the space for our Spermwatch launch coming in October as we'll need your help on the Isle of Wight to look out for lug worm sperm puddles! You can read a little bit more about the survey here but this page will be updated nearer the campaign launch. I also spotted quite a bit of the invasive species, Japanese knotweed, or Sargassum. 

Stay tuned for blogs coming next week. We are off to Kimmeridge for a Field Support Day and a bit of an ID session to see what we can find. If you'd like to come along, you can book on here.

Plastic Awareness Success!

A fantastically productive day of beach cleaning, topped off with a thought-provoking seminar by Professor Richard Thompson.

Our plastics awareness day kicked off with a beach clean at Jennycliff, teaming up with Leonie Richardson from the Marine Conservation Society and 16 strong army of eager volunteers. In approximately 2 hours, 6 full bags of marine litter were picked up, of which 81.2% of the total haul were plastic. Of the 81.2%, 31.4% were classed as unspecified fragments; plastics that have broken up in the sea, further highlighting the need to increase awareness of the impacts that plastic can have on our oceans. 

Following the beach clean, our 'Wine & Science' event set out to further raise awareness of the plastic problem. We welcomed Peter Kohler from The Plastic Tide, who offered a novel take on how citizen science can make a huge impact on coastal plastic pollution. The Plastic Tide is using drone technology and algorithms to measure the increasing plastic build up on our beaches. The Plastic Tide is a fantastic way to get you, citizen scientists, directly involved in conserving the marine environment from the comfort of your own home.  For more information about The Plastic Tide and how to get involved visit their website at

Plastic from food wrapping can be a real problem when entering the marine environment, and is often mistaken for food. Our beach clean earlier in the day returned 289 pieces of food related plastics, amounting to a total of 30.52% of our total plastic haul! CoCoast Field Assistant, Leoni Adams, provided home made food for the evening event, all of which was 100% free from plastic packaging, including homemade bread, soup, crackers and cheese! Well done Leoni!

We also welcomed Professor Richard Thompson to the MBA to deliver an insightful seminar on the causes of marine pollution and possible ways of combating the plastic problem. Professor Richard Thompson is one of the UK’s leading researchers into plastic and microplastic pollution within the marine environment, with over 20 years experience in this area.  In fact, he was one of the first researchers in the UK to highlight the issue of plastic pollution.

Many thanks from all of us at CoCoast SW to all of our guests, speakers and volunteers for helping make the event such a great success.


If you would like to make a difference, join CoCoastSW at the national Marine Conservation Society Great British Beach Clean at Widemouth on the Sunday 17th September 2017 – register


Seaweed specialists

We have been partnering with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Ednburgh on an exciting new project to learn more about the Edinburgh shoreline. Despite it's industrial past, the shoreline along the Forth has a rich marine life, and deserves to be celebrated and recognised. Our new TCV Natural Talent Trainee, Aroa, has come on board to make that a reality.She has been learning all about identifying seaweeds and lichens, and getting involved in CoCoast surveys and training days. She will be developing some interesting new ideas and events down in the region, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming notices! Here she is getting a bit too "hand's on" with the seaweed on a slippery slope!




Coastal Curiosity: Cushion star!

Coastal Curiosity alert! The Cushion Star

We’ve all seen starfish when rock-pooling, but have you ever noticed any different from the usual common starfish? 

This little fella is called a cushion star (Asterina gibbosa), which looks like a cartoon starfish with its small and stubby arms. But don’t let this fool you, they are voracious predators just like any other starfish. They invert their stomachs to digest their prey outside of the body, so basically they vomit out their stomachs! They are omnivorous, so use this technique to eat animals and plants alike, including molluscs, worms and seaweeds.

They are all over our rocky shores, so next time you are down the beach take a look for this cute, yet formidable, starfish.

Coastal Curiosity: the beautiful sea lemon

Every wanted to learn more about the weird and wonderful world on our shores? For a while now, CoCoast North Wales has been highlighting some of our "Coastal Curiosities" on social media, to spread our love of all things rocky shore. From now on, we'll also be updating our blog with these curiosities, starting with the beautiful sea lemon! 

The Sea Lemon (Archidoris pseudoargus) is a beautiful sea slug, or nudibranch, which is often found on rocky shores. The top side of the slug is covered in small wart like bumps. The sea lemon can be yellow, green, brown or pink and is often blotchy in colour.

Did you know that the word nudibranch means “naked gill”? This refers to the organ sea slugs use to breath, which is on the outside of their body. In the picture of the sea lemon below (bottom left) you can see the ring of eight or nine feathery gills towards the lower end of the body.

The sea lemon feeds on sponges, most often the breadcrumb sponge that can be found in crevices and under overhangs on the rocky shore. The eggs of the sea lemon look like a pale flattened ribbon, attached by one edge to the rock in a spiral shape. 






World Ocean's Day

We've been celebrating World Ocean's Day by inviting the whole family to join in CoCoast!

While the survey can only be done by adults, there is no reason not to get some budding marine biologists started young. Our intern, Blair, has been busily building an "indoor rocky shore" to train the next generation or surveyors, and we've got a range of competitions and identification games on the go. We'll be taking our family friendly roadshow to different places in Scotland this summer, so sign up to our newsletter to find out more.