Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Maenporth Marine Marvels

Cornwall Shoresearch teamed up with Fox club for a public event at Maenporth beach, Falmouth this Sunday the 16th March. It was great to be able to show people just how biodiverse the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation is!  A total of 16 children and 28 Adults came along and enjoyed a rockpool ramble followed by an Art workshop led by the Fox Clubs very own Kirstie Francis 

The shore is eerily devoid of large seaweeds (it has taken a battering this winter) but there was still loads going on. The rocky reefs to the South side of the bay are covered in pepper dulse, volcano barnacles, limpets, barnacles and predatory dogwhelks. 
Very exiting was the discovery of what appears to be young honeycomb worms Sabellaria alveolata growing on the rocks. This has now been confirmed by Dr Paul Gainey, who tells me that this may not have been seen since Dr Pennington Cocks studied the marine life of Falmouth bay in 1849 and documented Honecomb worm reefs at Swanpool and Maenporth beaches! 
Sabellaria alveolata reefs are a Biodiversity Action Plan Habitat so this is a really significant find for the Fal and Helford SAC! 
 honeycomb worms 

Sean's daughter Daisy found a lovely sheep sea slug Aeolida papillosa in a shallow pool. It is amazing that these guys live by eating sea anemones! They process the stinging nematocysts carry them to the ends of their gill tentacles where they then recycle them and use them to sting any predators that may attack them!
Sheep sea slug
At the lowest part of the shore amongst the kelp we found a beautiful fish - the bizarre tadpole like Montagu's sea snail 
Montagu's sea snail 

Painted topshell - a climate change indicator species

1 comment: