We’ve been keeping busy in the last few weeks with training days, beach cleans, film screenings, and of course collecting data for some of our specific investigations! Seaweeds vs Limpets was one of the projects we focussed on this month. Limpets, as grazers, can massively affect the amount of algal cover and the ratios of the two can vary greatly between years. CoCoast South East is focussing on Bembridge, Portland, and Kimmeridge for this campaign.
We set out bright and early for Kimmeridge last Saturday, prepared for all eventualities with wellies, waterproofs, and sunscreen. Thankfully, traffic wasn’t bad and we got to Kimmeridge in plenty of time to enjoy the blazing sunshine with an ice cream on top of the cliffs overlooking Kimmeridge Bay. Once the Solero and Mint Feast were devoured, it was time to get to work and start surveying!
We set off down to the mid shore with our quadrat, clipboard, and ruler – we didn’t need much equipment for seaweeds vs limpets, mostly just enthusiasm and willingness to get down on our hands and knees and measure some limpets! The survey is very easy, involving simply estimating the percentage cover of canopy algae, turf algae, and barnacles, and counting and measuring any limpets found within the quadrat.
In our 15 quadrats, we found just 13 limpets varying in size from 7mm to 43mm (lots more fell just outside our quadrat – but we made sure to avoid bias!). Whilst rooting through the seaweed canopy for limpets, we came across lots of other species including periwinkles, crabs, and topshells – including a monster thick topshell (Phorcus lineatus) 2.5cm in diameter!
We’ve passed on our data to the seaweeds vs limpets lead hub (Bangor) to do some number crunching. Hopefully we’ll see some of you at our next field support day!