Volunteers to blitz southern shores this summer

Discovery: Hundreds of people across the south coast have volunteered to work with Portsmouth marine scientists as part of the UK’s largest-ever citizen science project

Discovery: Hundreds of people across the south coast have volunteered to work with Portsmouth marine scientists as part of the UK’s largest-ever citizen science project

A series of special events this month, including three on the south coast, will see the public help build a more accurate picture of the diversity of marine life around the UK’s coastline.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth are working with a trained army of ‘citizen scientists’ during the upcoming ‘CoCoast Unite’ weekend, taking place between World Ocean’s Day Thursday, June 8 – Sunday, June 11 across the UK.

Events on the south coast are:

–       June 8: Screening of A Plastic Ocean at (6.30 arrive for 7pm start in the University of Portsmouth’s Park building, King Henry I St, PO1 2DZ. The screening is free and open to all, but please book via: https://oceanplastics.ev entbrite.co.uk

–       June 10: Field support day and ID. Find out more about CoCoast at Southsea Common, where the team have a stand showcasing some of the local marine life and marine litter found in June on our beach cleans.

–       June 23: A wine and science evening open to the public with a Southampton researcher talk examining whether microplastics are an emerging threat. The talk is free and open to all, but please book via: https:// wineandsciencejune.eventbrite. co.uk

Five minutes on Eastney beach:Plastic waste collected during one of the regular Capturing Our Coast field support days

Five minutes on Eastney beach: Plastic waste collected during one of the regular Capturing Our Coast field support days

Capturing our Coast South East project lead, Zoe Morrall, from the University of Portsmouth, said: “Being part of a national marine science initiative gives us a huge platform to raise awareness of a number of marine issues surrounding the intertidal shore. Using June as a plastic awareness month has allowed us create a range of events to encourage the public to get involved and gather vital information about our local shore as well as learning about threats to our environment.”

This month’s call to arms will gather vital information about the variety and abundance of intertidal species living on our rocky seashores.

The intertidal zone – the area between the sea and the land – is a very dynamic environment as a result of it being affected by the twice-daily ebb and flow of the tide.

Habitats in this zone can range from rockpools to mudflats to sandy beaches, which means that many types of marine animals can often be found there, from starfish and limpets to crabs and mussels – as well as different types of seabirds and in some locations, marine mammals.

Worm cast (Arenicola marina) photographed while volunteers were out on national campaign “Spermwatch” which will be launching again in October

Worm cast (Arenicola marina) photographed while volunteers were out on national campaign “Spermwatch”, launching again this October

The events are taking place as part of the three-year Capturing our Coast (CoCoast) project, led by Newcastle University and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The CoCoast partnership involves Portsmouth, Hull and Bangor universities, the Scottish Association for Marine Science, the Marine Biological Association of the UK and the Marine Conservation Society. Along with Earthwatch Institute, the Natural History Museum, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the North West Costal Forum.

Trained CoCoast volunteers are invited to 'wine and science' evenings, boat trips, aquarium tours, ID courses and more

Trained CoCoast volunteers are invited to ‘wine and science’ evenings, boat trips, aquarium tours, ID courses and more

CoCoast was launched last year and already thousands of volunteers have joined in, learning about the UK’s marine life, and playing an important role in helping to fill knowledge gaps about how marine organisms and coastal habitats are responding to increased sea temperatures and other factors associated with global climate change.

Volunteers wanting to join an event and help survey their preferred shore, can find out more at: www.capturingourcoast.co.uk

To share the impact of their efforts, volunteers can post photos via social media using #CoCoastUnite.

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

UoP News © 2017 All Rights Reserved