Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Shoresearch Week 2015 day 3 Polzeath Highlights in Photos

 Polzeath on Cornwalls north Coast is an incredible shore,  it is exposed to huge Atlantic swells yet its gullies and caves provide habitats that are rich in marine life.  Filter feeders thrive here thanks to nutrients coming from the camel estuary. The place is teeming with diversity!
The weather could not have been better - flat calm (very rare for this site) and no wind plus a huge low tide thanks to the Supermoon and high pressure further pushing the water down
A vast area of kelp dominated reef was exposed and explored for the first time by the Shoresearch team!

Heading to the North end of the Bay 
Laminaria hperborea kelp and dulse covered a huge area - the rocks below were carpeted in Corallina and pink plates - Mesophylum lichenoides 

Jake and Mango exploring some low tide crevices!

Leaches spider crab sheltering in a snakelocks anemone

Montagus sea snail - a small fish related to a lumpsucker was found in low shore pools 

This beautiful tiny sea slug Polycera quadralineatus  was found in a large mid shore pool on Cystoceira seaweed. 

Non native seaweed Asparagopsis armata was found for the first time at this site. Its spear like branches act like velco allowing it to be spread accidentally around the coast. 
This is the first record of Corella eumota the orange lipped seasquirt at this site too. This is another non-native that is rapidly spreading around the coastline.  found by Jake Meyers

Hairy crab portrait 

Closeup of an orange sponge  Opthalitospongia papillae

Probably Sabellaria worm tubes! They can be found at many sites but for some reason rarely form colonies in Cornwall - except of course for along the coast of North Cornwall from Crakcington haven and past Bude

Long spined sea scorpion Taurulus bubalis

This is a favorite large pool higer up the shore where jake found the tiny Polycera nudibranch

The diversity of sponges on the overhangs and rock faces is incredible - Photo by Stella

Here is a cool crab  - totally covered in camoflague! This is Pisa armata -or Gibb's spider crab still rarely recorded in Cornwall -we found two males and a female.

Green leaf worm (Eulalia viridis)  Pink corraline encrusting algae, Corralina elongata , a pheasant shell and  some saddle oysters.
Long horned porcelain crab - Porcellana longicornis
Unidentified small polychaete worm  
Upper shore pools are teaming with Bifurcaria bifurcata, tuning fork week
Blue Rayed limpet Patella pellucida
An Isopod Ideotea baltica - these were everywhere and come in a huge variety of colours! Identified by the shape of the tail 

Cliona cellata booring sponge - by Jake Meyers
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The biotope that they like - breadcrumb sponge, beadlet anemones, pink encrusitng algae

Onchidella celtica - the celtic sea slug - is a land gastropod that has become adapted to life on the shore- they only come out to feed when the tide drops out and then they are only able to feed for a limited time before becoming too dry after which they will dissapear as we found out!

It was an awesome Shoresearch!!  Polzeath is great!
To find out more visit the website of Polzeath Marine Conservation Group a local independent volunteer group! Who run loads of fun events and activities, beach cleans, rockpooling and much more.

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