CEDaR Shore Thing Training Day

On 4 August we headed to the Portrush Coastal Zone to run a Shore Thing Survey Training Day. Shore Thing is a citizen science project run by the Marine Biological Association which aims to record intertidal marine biodiversity and the effects of global warming on intertidal species distribution.

The course began with an introductory lecture on the background to and goals of the Shore Thing Surveys. This was followed by a brief introduction to the main species groups we would encounter during our surveys. However, the weather was good and I didn’t want to spend the whole day stuck in the classroom so after a quick lunch we headed down to the rocky shore at Ramore Head to get our feet wet and our hands dirty.

Shore Thing Training Day August Group 2016

We located our position using GPS (rather than the slightly more quaint method of obtaining bearings to fixed points as suggested in the manual) and began our transect down the shore. As this was a training day our quadrat placement became less and less random as the session went on and degenerated into downright cheating as I tried to target patches of shoreline with different species. While this would be frowned on in a true survey, I was keen to show as many new species as possible and by the end of the day it had essentially become a Rockpool Ramble for Grown Ups!

The shoreline here was a good introduction to intertidal survey. We managed to locate the five wrack species and three kelp species. There was also an abundance of red algae species (my personal nemesis!) and some greens. Intensive searching yielded a wide variety of invertebrate species ranging from marine collembola to thick topshells, breadcrumb sponge and a few Montagu’s Crabs (Xantho hydrophilus).

We finished the course with a 20 minute timed species search... essentially a treasure hunt for marine wildlife enthusiasts!

All left the course a little wiser including me, having learned quite a few things I didn’t know about lichens from the youngest attendee at the course. You’re never too old to learn… and never too young to teach.

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