Spring is in the air?!

Regardless of the weather, I've managed to convince myself that it is indeed Spring (we'll ignore recently being snowed-off the shore in Pembrokeshire) and that means survey time is well and truly upon us!

I'm delighted to announce the next batch of CoCoast Field Events with a couple of fantastic Steepholm Island (http://www.steepholm.org.uk/) trips and a webinar thrown in for good measure...

Please take a look at the Marine Conservation Society Hub Calendar for further details.

I look forward to seeing you on the shore soon!

 

Invasive Species Week Success!

Between 23rd and 29th March, the GB Non-Native Secretariat ran a national Invasive Species Week, to which CoCoast decided to help add to the search in the marine environment!

 

Although tides (and weather!) weren't brilliant around the country for the majority of the week, we amounted over 100 searches nationally with many new confirmed sightings of Marine Invaders!

 

Results from Invasive Species Week:

  • 13 new surveyors in March, adding up to a total of 83 people uploading Marine Invaders data nationally.
  • Number of individual timed surveys: 132 conducted in March (+315 previously recorded) totalling 447 searches to date.
  • Total number of confirmed sightings: 32 recorded in March (+32 previously recorded) totalling 64 confirmed sightings to date with images verified.
  • Total number of probable sightings: 5 recorded in March (+4 previously recorded) totalling 9 probably sightings to date where no images have been provided.

 

We have been really amazed with the results and all of your efforts!

Below shows an updated map of all presence and absence records from Marine Invaders 10 minute timed searches all around the UK (not finding something is of course just as important to record as a confirmed sighting!).

 

Of course, going out and searching for invasives species as part of our marine Invaders 10 minute timed searches also gives you the opportunity to look for other fabulous native species that reside on rocky shores, sandy beaches or artificial substrates (such as harbours)... don't forget - you can help us continue the search for Marine Invaders whenever and wherever you would like!

 

 

The cushion star, brittlestar and Edible Crab above were found during a CoCoast Marine Invaders Search at Meadfoot Beach on the 31st March.

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Head to our website to download everything you need to get started (click here), or join your local CoCoast team at their next open event; click here for more details of events near you.

 

Finally, a massive THANK YOU to everyone that got involved last month... keep up the good work! laugh

Marine Invasive Identification at the MBA

 

On the 22nd March, we were very fortunate to be able to offer a select number of volunteers the opportunity to gets hands-on with some marine invasive species and pick up some key identification tips, courtesy of Dr John Bishop and Chris Wood of the Bishop Group (http://www.mba.ac.uk/fellows/bishop-group-associate-fellow) based here at the MBA. 

 

 

After a highly informative talk by Dr Bishop about invasive species in the UK, volunteers were split into groups and got the opportunity to learn about a whole host of non-native and invasive species, both live and preserved, in comparison to native UK species. 

 

The evening was fantastic fun and of course highly educational; we were delighted to see everyone so enthusiastic to further their understanding of invasive species and of course eager to help us search for Marine Invaders on UK coastlines!

 

 

Images above show a Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) and various algae and chromist species including Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida), Devil's Tongue Weed (Grateloupia turuturu), Japanese Wireweed (Sargassum muticum) and Harpoon Weed (Asparagopsis armata). 

 

 

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As today is the official start of GBNNSS's 'Invasive Species Week' which runs from 23rd-29th March 2018, #CoCoastSW are excited to have a number of upcoming events that everyone is welcome to attend and #getINNSvolved, whether you are registered with CoCoast or not:

  • Wednesday 28th March – Marine Invaders Species Open Evening, MBA Plymouth (Open Event – click here)
  • Thursday 29th March – Marine Invaders Species Search, Tinside Plymouth (Open Event – click here)
  • Friday 30th March – Marine Invaders Species Search with the Three Bays Wildlife Group at Portholland, nr St. Austell (Volunteer-led; registered CoCoast volunteers only – click here)
  • Saturday 31st March – Marine Invaders Species Search, Meadfoot Torbay (Open Event – click here)

For more information about these events, please click the links above or contact the CoCoast Southwest team at: cocoast@mba.ac.uk.

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If you don't live in the Southwest and would like more information on marine invasive species events in your area, check out our previous blog post (click here) to see what's happening in your region.

 

 

 

Invasive Species Week with CoCoast

 

This March, the Great British Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS) are hosting a national 'Invasive Species Week' from 23rd - 29th March; you can find more information on this event by clicking here.

Here at Capturing our Coast, we want to add to the search for invasive species in the marine environment... and we need your help!

For centuries, marine species have moved around the globe either by hitching a ride on the hulls of ships, as stowaways in ballast water, or by being deliberately introduced for commercial purposes. Some can have a positive effect and become a new food source for native species. Others thrive a bit too well and may be harmful to our native diversity by outcompeting them or by introducing disease; these are called invasive species.

 

Events Coming Up

To raise awareness and record the presence/absence of marine invasive species around the UK, our hubs from all corners of the country have been organising a mixture of events for 'Invasive Species Week', some exclusively for CoCoast registered volunteers and others that are open to the public of all ages; under 18's must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 18 years.

* Due to differences in the tides around the UK coastline, some events cannot be held between the 23rd and 29th March – see below for events in your region!

 

Scotland

  • Friday 30th March - Easter 'Egg' Hunt, Atlantic Bridge (Open Event)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast Scotland team at: cocoast@sams.ac.uk.

 

North East - Newcastle

  • ​​Tuesday 27th March – Wine & Science Evening, The Dove Marine Laboratory Cullercoats (registered CoCoast volunteers only):

Dr Catherine Scott (Natural England) & Pippa Howarth (MSc, Newcastle University) - “Northumbria Coast Invasive Non-Native Species Monitoring Partnership Project”.

  • Sunday 29th April – Marine Invaders Species Search, St Mary’s Lighthouse: 09:30 – 11:00 (registered CoCoast volunteers only)
  • Monday 30th April – Marine Invaders Species Search, Whitburn: 10:00 – 11:30 (registered CoCoast volunteers only)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast Northeast team at: cocoast@newcastle.ac.uk.

 

North East - Hull

  • TBC

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast Hull team at: cocoast@hull.ac.uk.

 

North Wales

  • Friday 27th April – Marine Invaders Species Search, Porth Cwyfan (Open Event - click here)
  • Saturday 28th April - Marine Invaders Species Search, Treborth (Open Event - click here)
  • Sunday 29th April - Marine Invaders Species Search, Beaumaris (Open Event - click here)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast North Wales team at: cocoast@bangor.ac.uk.

 

 

South Wales

  • Friday 16th March, Langland Bay, Gower 11:15 - 14:15 (registered CoCoast volunteers only)
  • Sunday 18th March, Black Rock, Dale, Pembrokeshire 11:30 - 14:30 (Open Event)
  • Wednesday 21st March, Wiseman's Bridge, Saundersfoot 13:15 - 16:15 (Open Event)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast MCS team at: cocoast@mcsuk.org.

 

South Coast

  • Tuesday 27th March – Marine Invaders Species Search, Portsmouth (Open Eventclick here)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast South team at: cocoast@port.ac.uk.

 

Southwest England

  • Wednesday 28th March – Marine Invaders Species Open Evening, MBA Plymouth (Open Eventclick here)
  • Thursday 29th March – Marine Invaders Species Search, Tinside Plymouth (Open Event click here)
  • Friday 30th March – Marine Invaders Species Search with the Three Bays Wildlife Group at Portholland, nr St. Austell (Volunteer-led; registered CoCoast volunteers only click here)
  • Saturday 31st March – Marine Invaders Species Search, Meadfoot Torbay (Open Event click here)
  • Friday 27th April - Quadrat Survey & Marine Invaders Species Searches, Kingsand (Registered CoCoast volunteers only click here)
  • Sunday 29th April - Marine Invaders Species Search, Mount Batten Plymouth (Volunteer-led; registered CoCoast volunteers only click here)
  • Sunday 29th April - Marine Invaders Species Search, Corbyn Head Torbay (Volunteer-led; registered CoCoast volunteers only click here)

For more information about these events, please contact the CoCoast Southwest team at: cocoast@mba.ac.uk.

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Don't forget...

...that you don't have to join us at one of the above events to take part in our Marine Invaders timed searches!

If you want to survey your local coast, you can go whenever and wherever you like on any rocky shore, sandy beach or artificial shore (such as harbours).

Surveys take 10 minutes per species and all you have to do is choose a species to look for (or more if you fancy!), download the species identification guide(s), recording sheets and survey instructions from http://www.mba.ac.uk/marineinvaders/ and get out searching; don’t forget - both the presence and absence of species are just as important to record and upload… so have fun!

(Image above shows the Creeping Sea Squirt, Perophroa japonica)

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Marine Invaders So Far

We officially launched our 'Marine Invaders' timed searches in September 2017. 

To date, our volunteers (you amazing people!) have completed 327 individual searches around the UK with 32 confirmed species sightings, 11 of which have been of Japanese Wireweed (Sargssum muticum), closely followed by 8 confirmed sightings of Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas). 

See our most recent map below to find out where your presence and absence data have been recorded and help us fill the gaps (data correct as of 28th Feb 2018):

CoCoast Lite!

Introducing 'CoCoast Lite'

CoCoast celebrated its second birthday in January! That’s two years of transect surveys, wine and science nights, beach cleans, barnacle counting, lugworm sperm searching and countless other coastal activities. As a community, you have achieved a huge amount. And there’s more to come… 


Do you struggle to find time to do a CoCoast survey? Can’t face the prospect of 10 whole quadrats? Or maybe you’re a weary super surveyor in a quadrat quandary? We have a solution for you!

CoCoast Lite is a way of contributing to the CoCoast general transect survey, without needing to complete 10 quadrats per transect.

We understand 10 quadrats is a lot, and can be overwhelming. However any data you submit can be used by our scientists, to increase our understanding of how marine life varies across the UK and how things are changing. So why not try a few and see how you get on?

For super surveyors that are completing 10 quadrats regularly, this may give you the opportunity to fit in a few more surveys and sky rocket your survey stats! 

Complete 1-3 quadrats (or more if you like!) using your chosen species pack and submit your data to be in for the chance to WIN exciting survey rewards including tickets to our CoCoast awards night! 

There are plenty of opportunities for you to join us on the shore and help us celebrate our birthday by completing a CoCoast Lite quadrat or two! Or if you just can’t wait to get surveying just head down to your local shore and give it a go!

Introducing... Alys Perry!

 

Alys has been a volunteer with #CoCoastSW since October 2016, shortly after starting her undergraduate degree at Plymouth University. Even though she was both new to the area and new to marine science, Alys jumped straight in to help us with all our field projects whatever the weather and has since proved herself a hugely valuable citizen scientist for us here at the MBA.

 

  

 

Here is Alys's story of her #CoCoastSW journey in her own words:

"I’m 19 years old and I am in my 2nd year studying marine biology and coastal ecology, at Plymouth University. Marine life and the outdoors have always been a big interest of mine from a young age. This is mainly because I grew up in a small fishing town called Solva in Pembrokeshire, Wales. So, the sea, boats and rock pools were pretty much rooted into my childhood. When it came to decide what to do after school it was a no brainer that I wanted to study marine biology, and Plymouth University ticked all the right boxes for me.

During my first year at university I came across Capturing our Coast South West, based at the Marine Biological Association on Plymouth Hoe. I signed up to do a training day at the MBA where I met Leoni and Kathryn who kindly invited me to join them to do Sargassum muticium surveys at Wembury. Sargassum muticum are an invasive species of seaweed which has come to Britain from Japan. The aim of the surveys, was to measure the abundance of the seaweed within the rock pools and take samples to assess what effect this species may be having on other native species on the rocky shore. Taking part in these surveys was what really got me interested in the project, and ever since I have been very involved with Cocoast. I was lucky enough to be invited by the Cocoast team to do Sargassum surveys with them in North Wales. This was an awesome experience as it really improved my ID skills of rocky shore organisms, and meant I got to go back to Wales for a few days."

 

"Now that I have started my second year in university, I have been participating in more lab-based work with capturing our coast, which I have really benefit from. There are two different lab projects which I am currently involved with. These are the Sargassum ID project and the top shell study. The Sargassum ID project entails measuring the holdfast, circumference, and length of the Sargassum. Weighing each individual plant and separating all the fauna and flora that is growing or attached to the Sargassum. This is quite tricky work but very enjoyable. It is so interesting to see all the tiny fauna species that are attached to the Sargassum, that I had never noticed before when surveying them. I haven’t yet started on the identification of flora and fauna, but I am very much looking forward to it. 

The top shell study is also very interesting. It involves crushing the shells to remove the operculum and take slices out of their gonads. These parts are then placed under the microscope to be measured and photographed. After this is done you have to sex the top shell to determine if it is male or female and record all the data. It is very detailed work but very fascinating. I never thought that when I joined Cocoast I would be looking at top shells’ reproductive parts in such detail, but I guess that is science for you!

 

 

Over Christmas I was back at home in Pembrokeshire so unfortunately, I couldn’t be involved with my usual top shell crushing and Sargassum identification work, but I kept myself busy by doing some Marine Invaders and Wading birds surveys.

Volunteering with Capturing our Coast has given me so many amazing opportunities to study current science and get out in the field to some beautiful locations. I have met some lovely and enthusiastic scientists, that have really motivated me to work hard to achieve my future goals within marine biology. Cocoast has been great because it has enabled me to gain essential skills needed for a career in science. Lastly it has meant that I can contribute and support ecological research in my own area and be part of a UK wide project."

 

  

 

Happy New Year 2018!

A very happy new year to all our CoCoasters!

Apparently, the top new year's resolution in the UK is to "slim down" so our CoCoast surveys have done just that...

Introducing CoCoast LITE:

Do you struggle to find time to do a CoCoast survey? Can’t face the prospect of 10 whole quadrats? Or maybe you’re a weary super surveyor in a quadrat quandary? We have a solution for you!

CoCoast Lite is a way of contributing to the CoCoast general transect survey, without needing to complete 10 quadrats per transect.

We understand 10 quadrats is a lot, and can be overwhelming. However any data you submit can be used by our scientists, to increase our understanding of how marine life varies across the UK and how things are changing. So why not try a few and see how you get on?

For super surveyors that are completing 10 quadrats regularly, this may give you the opportunity to fit in a few more surveys and sky rocket your survey stats!

Complete 1-3 quadrats (or more if you like) using your chosen species pack and submit your data to be in for the chance to WIN exciting survey rewards including tickets to our CoCoast awards night!

If you have any queries or concerns about uploading your data, please contact cocoast@mcsuk.org and we will help you through the process.

There are plenty of upcoming opportunities for you to join us on the shore, just take a look at our hub calendar and get in touch at: cocoast@mcsuk.org.

If you can’t wait to get surveying or these dates / locations aren't suitable, just head down to your local shore and give it a go!

 

Beach Babies

 Winter is still upon us, but it won't be long before signs of Spring start greeting our shores. As early as February, species start preparing for the reproductive season and start laying eggs. Our Beach Babies campaign is all about searching for and recording eggs of many species and other signs of reproduction in simple short surveys. As if we needed an excuse to get out on the shore and have a good hunt around! 

If you'd like to know more about Beach Babies, please get in touch.

As for all our field events, if you plan to join us, please wear appropriate clothing - it does get cold at this time of year so plenty of layers, waterproofs and wellies or walking boots are definitely recommended. Where there is a suitable establishment nearby, you are welcome to join me for a hot beverage, following the field session to warm the cockles (ideally not the shelled variety...)

We look forward to seeing you on the shore soon and getting our 2018 surveys off to a raring start!

 

Turf War: Seaweeds vs Limpets in North Wales

We had a fantastic time conducting our Seaweed vs Limpets surveys on 10 North Wales shores in Autumn and after a busy few months, we are now really pleased to present you an update on the ‘turf war’ between these two species since we began surveying in Spring 2016.

Why we survey…

Limpets graze on young seaweed and consequently determine the amount of seaweed on a shore. However in some years there are more limpets and so we would expect to see less seaweed and vice versa. This study aims to understand the balance between these two species across UK shores and across time.

So far so good…

Check out the following infographics which give a cool snapshot of our findings so far!

Missed out?...

Fear not, Seaweeds vs. Limpets will be running again between February and March 2018. If you would like to get involved send us an email on cocoast@bangor.ac.uk and let us know which of the following sites you could help us survey: Cemlyn Bay, Porth Cwyfan, Porth Dinllean, Porth Nobla, Porth Swtan, Porth Trwyn, Porth Ysgaden, Trearddur Bay or Trefadog, you will receive one of our highly sought after 'Like it or Limpet' reusable shopping bags or beanie.

Doing your homework…

More information about this survey (including a video tutorial) as well as the protocol and a brown algae ID guide can be found on the following page: https://www.capturingourcoast.co.uk/specific-information/seaweed-vs-limpets