Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Shoresearch Week 2017

Shoresearch week 2017 was held between October the 6th and 10th during the largest spring tides of the autumn, and despite being slightly later in the year than in previous years we were very lucky with the weather and we had a great team of surveyors join in! This is a five day rockpooling mission taking in all five of Cornwall's Voluntary Marine Conservation Zones - St Agnes, Fowey, Helford, Polzeath and Looe. Here are some highlights in photos:

Happy Shoresearch crew on the shore at Readymoney Cove Fowey

Anthea with sea scorpion Taurulus bubalis,

Tiny cushion star, Asterina phylactica  found by Heather at Readymoney, Fowey  Matt Slater

Dahlia anemones -  Polzeath -  Adele Morgan

Blue Rayed Limpet - Matt Slater 

Celtic Sea Slug, Onchidella celtica, Readymoney, Fowey  Adele Morgan

Cocks Comb weed Adele Morgan, Prisk Cove

Pterocladiella capillacea - St Agnes Matt Slater 

Gem Anemone Aulactinia verrucosa Matt Slater

C
Checking a fish trap

Giant goby 22cm long found at Prisk Cove by Sue Scott 

Giant goby  at Hannafore - found by Niki Clear

Matt and common prawn

Spiny Starfish, Marthasterias glacias

Juvenile Montagu's blenny Coryphoblennius galerita Matt Slater 

Devonshire cup coral Carophyllia smithii



Cancer pagurus - the Pasty Crab  Matt Slater

Polyides rotunda - red seawed Matt Slater 

Sea Lemon, Doris pseudoargus Hannfore point, Looe  photo Matt Slater 

Common Shanny Photo Adele Morgan
 Common Shanny shows its impressive teeth! used for biting the legs off barnacles! 
Sphareoma serratum -  Photo Matt Slater
Sphareoma serratum  - an isopod which rolls in a ball when disturbed! Was abundant amongst rocks on the high shore, Prisk Cove.

Velvet swimming crab Polzeath 
Tompot blenny, St agnes photo Matt Slater 


To celebrate the end of Shoresearch Week Adele made this delicious vegan chocolate cake! 



Shoresearch Spring 2017

The sun has been shining and six spring surveys have been completed!  Due to the large spring tides we've had, we have been able to explore and discover species and habitats that wouldn’t be feasible on a normal neap tide. We have surveyed four new locations and recorded a large variety of fascinating organisms. 


Codium and Corralina rockpool landscape Matt Slater 

South Fistral beach, Newquay
Our first spring event in Newquay was a huge success. After five minutes of exploring we had already recorded a large abundance of purse sponge, Grantia compressa that covered the lower shore, numerous chitons, Polyplacophora sp and colourful anemones which lined gullies and hidden caves. The cave of dreams (first found here by shoresearch volounteers in 2014) was the ultimate highlight however, with the presence of  Scarlet and Gold cup corals, Balanophyllia regia, Oaten pipe hydroids, Tubularia indivisa, Celtic sea slugs, Onchidella celtica Dahlia anemones, Urticina felina and a variety of sponges. We also spotted two juvenile Sea Hares, Aplysia punctata which marked the beginning of sea hare season!
Celtic sea slug, Onchidella celtica and a Beadlet anemone, Actinia equina photo by Adele Morgan
Scarlet and Gold cup corals - Balanophyllia regia photo by Adele Morgan
Snakelocks anemones - Anemonia viridis  Photo by Adele Morgan


Porth Mear, Park head
Porth mear was one of the new locations we were super excited about surveying! We got in contact with Richard Pierce, a gentleman who has been surveying the shore for over 50 years who led us to a pool that was filled with St Pirans crabs, Clibanarius erythropus, a warm water hermit crab that was rediscovered on a Shoresearch survey last year in Falmouth. Since then they have been popping up everywhere and are a key species we look for on our surveys. We discovered numerous Shore Cling fish, Lepadogaster lepadogaster, A Great grey sea slug, Aeolidia papillosa  and large variety of crabs species. Another highlight was finding a gully lined with Scarlet and Gold cup corals, including a rare yellow colour morph. So exciting!

St Piran's crab - Clibanarius erythropus photo by Adele Morgan
A sea Hare - Aplysia punctata by Matt Slater

Scarlet and Gold cup corals  - unusual pale colour morph of Balanophyllia regia Photo by Adele Morgan

 Castle Beach, Falmouth
A beautiful sunny survey in Falmouth. With such a low tide we were able to explore the lower rocky reefs and kelp beds. We recorded Green leaf worms, Eulalia viridisbright orange breadcrumb sponge, Halichondria panicea, chitons, Polyplacophora, a Fan Worm, Megalomma vesiculosum and many hiding crabs. We even spotted a Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops and a Kaleidoscope Stalked jellyfish, Haliclystus octoradiatus. 


Fan worm - Megalomma vesiculosum By Adele Morgan
Stalked jellyfish - Haliclystus octoradiatus Photo Adele Morgan
The common hermit crab - Pagurus bernhardus Photo Adele Morgan
 Millook, Bude

This incredible rocky reef is famous for surfing but as we discovered it also has a greatAnother new location in the North of Cornwall, known for its abundance of Honeycomb worm, Sabellaria alveolata  and amazing geology. The great quantity of Honeycomb worm reefs covering the area meant that bare rock was unusual and uncommon, yet the area was still rich in life! Down the lower shore we were able to identify two species of Stalked jellyfish, Haliclystus octoradiatus and Lucernariopsis cruxmelitensis, Matt found a Molgula species of sea squirt and a large estuary ragworm, Hediste diversicolor.  At the end of the survey, volunteer John Blackburn found an amazing Crystal Goby, Crystallogobius linearis in a High shore pool.

Honeycomb worm reefs - Sabellaria alveolata

Juvenile common limpet - Patella vulgata photo Matt Slater

Molgula sp seasquirt -sand covered
 Porthleven

Our Porthleven survey was one of our favourites! This popular surfing reef is teaming with life including huge numbers of St Piran's crabs Clibanarius erythropus and during out timed species search we identified Dabberlocks, Alaria esculenta, purse sponge, Grantia compressa and numerous painted top shells, Calliostoma ziziphinum! Throughout the survey we also discovered spotted cowries, Trivia monacha, lots of anemones, an Orange clubbed sea slug,  Limacia clavigera and a long spinned sea scorpion, Taurulus bubalis.  Matt used his Goby traps and was able to catch and release a Giant Goby, Gobius cobitis which is a rare and protected species under the Wildlife and countryside act 1981.

Montagu's Blenny - Coryphoblennius galerita Photo by Adele Morgan

Orange clubbed sea slug - Limacia clavigera Photo Matt Slater

Giant Goby - Gobius cobitis photo by Matt Slater
Pentewen, St Austell

We were hit by stormy, rainy weather at our Pentewen survey but that didn’t stop us! The shore was rather rocky, making it the perfect habitat for a variety of crab species and marine snails. A few smaller rock pools were lined with beautiful seaweeds, such as Bryopsis mossy feather weeds, that when magnified look like little trees. In the same pool a species of Obelia hydroid was recorded and Blennys were seen swimming under rocks for shelter. 

Barnacle species - Semibalanus balanoides Adele Morgan
Dahlia anemone - Urticina felina, photo Adele Morgan

Bryopsis feather weeds, Adele Morgan
Article by Adele Morgan 
With lots more Shoreserach surveys and extreme eco events planned for this year  all are welcome to get involved and survey the shore! To be added to the shoresearch email list so you will be kept up to date please email matt.slater@Cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk 
for a full list of events for this year visit http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/shoresearch



Giant Gobies found at Looe Island!

Giants discovered on Looe Island! 

Cornwall Wildlife Trust Living Seas Manager Ruth Williams with giant goby

On a recent Cornwall Wildlife Trust survey of marine life on their Looe Island Nature Reserve marine experts were thrilled to discover a rare species lurking within the island’s rockpools.

The giant goby, Gobius cobitus is the largest species of goby to be found in UK waters growing to a whopping 27cm maximum length. Few people have heard of this elusive species which dwarfs all other gobies, but its UK stronghold is in Cornwall and South Devon, with increasing numbers of records being made each year. This discovery, the first for Looe Island, further highlights the amazing marine life found in Cornwall’s only Marine Nature Reserve.

Giant gobies are warm water marine fish which range from the Mediterranean, along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and France and north as far as the South West of England. It is possible that we may witness an extension north of this species’ range due to climate change in coming years so it is particularly important to survey them.

Giant gobies are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside act 1981 so it is illegal to disturb them without a Natural England Licence. Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer for Cornwall Wildlife is the proud holder of a licence to humanely capture and study this species.

Matt Slater said,

“We have carried out surveys in lots of locations around Cornwall and I am starting to be pretty good at thinking like a goby and predicting where they are likely to be, but it is still a real thrill to discover a new population of them in a new site!”

Giant gobies have never been recorded before on Looe Island as far as we are aware. In one pool two small giant gobies were found and in another pool one giant was discovered measuring 23cm (9 inches) in length.


Giant gobies are chunky, robust fish and are members of a large family of rockpool fishes all having distinctive, fat rubbery lips, tiny scales and two dorsal fins. Gobies are well adapted to life on the shore and the giant goby can be distinguished by it’s size and its fleshy, lobed pelvic fin which is used as a suction pad.

The annual Looe Island survey, which is carried out in August, was well attended this year by a range of local naturalists, Cornwall Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers from Looe Marine Conservation Group. As well as carrying out a fish survey of rockpools other surveys were completed by Cornwall Seal Group. This included surveys of seals, birds and butterflies as well as monitoring of the rocky shore. The records collected all help to understand, manage and protect the island’s wildlife.

Looe Island Nature Reserve is a truly special place home to an amazing array of wildlife, all thriving in this secluded and unspoiled corner of Cornwall.

To arrange a visit to the island please visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/looeisland
If you would like to get involved in helping out on shore surveys please email Shoresearch@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk
Giant Goby Looe Island 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Shoresearch Week 2016

Join Marine Biologists and volunteers from Cornwall Wildlife Trusts Shoresearch project on their annual Shoresearch Week surveying the shore at all five of Cornwall's Voluntary Marine Conservation Zones! This year the Week will cover even more marine areas as we are teaming up with Capturing our Coast SW who are also running surveys across Devon and Cornwall.  Part of #SW_MPA_Project 
We welcome anyone who is keen to learn and to improve their shore species identification.  skills to come along. This is different to a standard rockpool ramble in that we have a limited amount of time to record as many species as we can! Its not suitable for under 11's and all under 18's must be accompanied by an adult

You can come along to as many as you like - all are epic locations and we will be taking advantage of some incredibly low tides!
Friday 16th Sept St Agnes meet at 10.30am - on the slipwqay at Trevaunance cove
Saturday 17th Sept Helford - meet at 10.30 on road to Mawanan Church just before the church!
Sunday 18th Sept Looe- meet at 11.30am at Hannafore Point (near toilets)
Monday 19th Sept Polzeath Meet at 12.30pm at Polzeath Marine Centre
Tuesday 20th Sept Fowey Meet at Readymoney Cove at 1.30pm


Please email matt.slater@cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk to book a place and for more details, for more info on our project visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/shoresearchwww.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/shoresearch
You can also find us and like us on Facebook at our page @Shoresearch Cornwall

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Shoresearch Cornwall Spring Highlights 2016

Rare hermit crab rediscovered in Cornwall!! 

Shoresearch at Castle Beach Falmouth
Thanks to massive spring tides our spring surveys went really well this year. We welcomed and trained lots of new volunteers and ran some very successful surveys. At Polridmouth near Fowey we recorded two species of rare stalked jellyfish and found our first crystal gobies!
At Castle beach we ran a very well attended public rockpool ramble and a Shoresearch led by our volunteers Patrick D'Arcy Evans and Sue Scott. Massive highlight of this day was when Adrian Rowlands brought over a bucket of tiny crabs etc and within it there was one that looked different!
It turned out to be a rare species Clibanarius erythropus - a warm water hermit crab not seen in the UK in significant numbers since 1967.  A population did exsist in Cornwall  in the 1960's (First discovered by trustee of Cornwall wildlife Trust Dr Nick Tregenza when he was a teenager!) Small populations existed  back then at Mousehole, Mounts bay and at wembury in south devon. These gregarious crabs dissapeared sadly from our shores after the Torrey Canyon oil Spill of 1967,  possibly killed off by strong chemicals used to clear the oil. #
Rediscovering such an awesome little creature was incredibly exiting!! Lots more photos and information can be found on our facebook page , and on our website here
Since then the species has been discovered at several sites around Cornwall including in Mounts bay by David Fenwick, at Porthleven by Paul Gainey, at Mousehoe on the next shorsearch survey and at Trenow near Perranuthnoe. One has even been found on the north Coast on a survey led by volunteers from Coastwise north Devon.
It is really exciting that this species which is at the northern edge of its distribution has clearly had a significant recruitment last year and may now be here to stay! It is a shame it doesn't have a good common name yet. In Stella Turks book Seashore Life In Cornwall published in 1971 she refers to them as European hermit crabs but I cant help thinking that there must be a more appropriate name we could give them!

BBC Springwatch have been down to Falmouth to cover the story and Marine officer Matt Slater helped them find the crabs - It wasn't easy but after 3 hours searching, right in the nick of time Matt found three specimens!
Add caption

This year we are also running a series of extreme eco events where we have enlisted the help of coasteering companies and Stand up paddle boarding companies to help us run a series of more challenging and possibly more engaging surveys in areas which are harder to access. Our survey of the reef at Polzeath called Cowrie reef was the first in this series. We really enjoyed working with the highly knowledgeable staff at Cornish Rock Tors and it was a great survey. I am really looking forward to visiting this shore again to do some snorkelling in the rockpools there which were amazing!
Ben Spicer of Cornish Rock Tors sharing his passion for the shore!
Ben and Hugo from Cornish Rock Tors invited a small group of us to visit the caves they regularly explore at Port Gaverne, this is an environment you would not be able to survey without specialist help! It was a great day with lots of swimming, rock climbing and jumping into the water. We were privileged to have been shown a huge cave called shrimp cave and inside it were very rare scarlet and gold cup corals!
Photo by Thomas Daguerre - Hydromotion Media

We were also taken on a rockpooling session with a difference by Karl Thompson of Newquay Activity Centre who showed us a fascinating stretch of coastline at Newquays Towan headland, and area known as the Gazzle with incredible caves full of baked bean seasquirts, tompot blennies in the cracks in the rocks, It was an amazing day and 80 marine species were recorded!
Exporing the Tea caves at Newquay headland 
With lots more Shoreserach surveys and extreme eco events planned for this year  all are welcome to get involved and survey the shore! To be added to the shoresearch email list so you will be kept up to date please email matt.slater@Cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk 
for a full list of events for this year visit http://www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk/shoresearch



Broad Clawed Porcelain crab photographed at a shoresearch survye at Trevone, Mounts Bay