Wednesday, 15 November 2017

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

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 
for a full list of events for this year visit

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