It’s National Marine Week this week and so perfect timing for the start of our latest Discovery Bay research project which got under way today. Our two latest work experience students, Christ the King A-level pupils, Lizzie and Alanah met us out on Horse Ledge, Shanklin at low tide early this morning starting with Rockpool ID practice, looking for, and discovering patches, of the rare seaweed Peacock’s tail, a key conservation target. We also spotted a Hairy crab, another rare find so great to see it at home at Horse Ledge. We walked on to Hope Beach, looking at the distribution of sandstone reef features before taking a quick look at the ongoing PhD research with Glasgow University on Hope Beach groyne where together we’re experimenting with man-made textures and their effects on marine colonisation.
Alanah and Lizzie’s task this summer is to help Artecology and Arc map the reef features in each of the 54 individual bays along the defended coast of the Bay, identifying any areas of Peacock’s tail as they go.
This latest student project illustrates again how our homebase, Sandown Bay provides tremendous opportunities for higher education research into marine ecology, coastal management and big global issues, while on a local level, it helps Island students find topics of interest and inspiration close to home. Both Lizzie and Alanah are looking at their university choices as we speak and it’s brilliant that the natural world and Sandown Bay can shape, spark and inform their decisions.