How can you get involved?
By becoming a citizen scientist or simply just going rockpooling, you’ll be taking part in marine conservation by raising your awareness of our amazing oceans.
Making links between the Aquarium and our seas is vital to the success of the Aquarium in achieving our mission of ‘driving marine conservation through engagement’. Our scientists have been involved in a number of projects that seek to address some of the key issues in marine conservation. Wherever possible, we support projects that provide opportunities for scientists and non-scientists to work together to collect data and make observations about the changing marine ecosystem.
Currently one of our biggest Citizen Science project is the Community Seagrass Initiative but we have a long history of this type of engaging research.
The Scylla Reef Project, coordinated by the National Marine Aquarium, was aimed at supporting local biodiversity by providing a new and diverse habitat whilst also providing a new site for recreational diving and research.
On 27th March 2004, the former naval frigate HMS Scylla was scuttled and placed on the seabed in Whitsand Bay, south-east Cornwall. The sinking of Scylla marked the end of years of planning and preparation by the National Marine Aquarium and partners yet the beginning of the life of a new artificial reef.
The reef was created primarily as a unique dive destination. Scylla presents a challenging but rewarding experience which has been enjoyed by many thousands of divers. For information on diving Scylla click here
As well as offering divers a new dive site, the reef presents scientists with an opportunity to study the colonisation of an underwater structure from the very beginning. As the development of more and more offshore structures takes place – from wind turbines to moorings, oil platforms to wave power devices – there is a need to understand the processes that dictate what will fill the space created by the new structure and how this can affect the survival of local marine life and the structures themselves.
Scientific programmes studying the colonisation of the reef and the impact upon the surrounding seabed have been carried out by partners within the Plymouth Marine Sciences Partnership and the results coordinated by Aquarium scientists. A large number of observations were also made by volunteer divers under the Seasearch programme – www.seasearch.org.uk.
With the reef now established as a “climax” community, the Aquarium is putting together a research programme with local scientists to establish the responses of a variety of species to environmental changes.
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside!
Hopefully your visit to the Aquarium will inspire you to get out and explore our shores for yourselves. It’s no wonder, with all this amazing marine life to discover, that spending time by the sea is Britain’s favourite day out, with 61% of us choosing the seaside as our favourite day trip destination.
With more than 25 million trips to the UK seaside each year it is important we learn more about our marine environment, so we get the most out of our visits and ensure we protect it for others.
Go out and embrace our fabulous coastline, but please follow this simple Rockpooling advice when you do so.
- Before venturing onto the shore check the tides, and ensure that you can get back before the tide cuts you off. It is best to go down a shore as the tide goes out.
- Look at any cliffs to check for possible rock falls and do not get too close to them.
- Shores are rough and often weed-covered. Accidents easily happen, so never go alone.
- Don’t use fishing nets in rockpools; you will damage the delicate plants and animals that make the pools so attractive. If you sit and watch a rockpool, you will see more than you would by pushing a net around.
- If you do catch animals, keep them in water, out of the sun, and return them to where they came from.
- Turn over rocks and boulders carefully so that you do not harm yourself or the creatures living on their undersides.
- Return weed and rocks to how you find them.
- If collecting empty shells or weed, carefully check that there aren’t any animals on or inside them. A dead Hermit Crab is a sad reminder of a great day at the beach.
- Litter is a danger to us and to wildlife; do not leave any on the shore – did you realise that 35% of rubbish on beaches comes from visitors? Make sure that you take all your waste home with you, including cigarette butts.
TAKE NOTHING BUT PHOTOS; LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS