Earthwatch Europe is inviting members of the public to spot juveniles and signs of reproduction in marine species across the UK’s rocky shores.
Lots of animals are changing the time of year that they breed in response to warmer or cooler waters. Earthwatch is interested in how this varies around the UK as part of its research into climate change – a key environmental focus for the charity. There is an activity pack to help members of the public identify key marine species and upload their findings and photos to a national database.
Debbie Winton, project manager, Earthwatch, says: “Collecting information about our coastal wildlife is vital if we are to protect them for the future. New data gathered by the public will enable us to understand more about the effects of climate change by examining what time of year certain species reproduce and if this varies across different locations.”
Coastal wildlife on the list to find includes four species of crab such as the velvet swimming crab and the long-clawed crab, different types of seaweed as well as the common prawn and the lesser-known greenleaf worm.
The new Beach Babies project is part of Earthwatch’s Capturing Our Coast programme, which aims to understand the UK’s unique rocky shore environment and the species which live there.
Scientists at Portsmouth University will analyse the findings to help build up a picture of changes in the UK’s marine wildlife. Scientists will look at whether species are changing the timings of when they reproduce to earlier or later in the year, or the locations they choose such as moving further north or south, and whether this could be because of changes in climate. Findings will also be shared with other interested organisations such as the Shark Trust and The Sea Change Project.
For more information, including an activity pack, go to www.capturingourcoast.co.uk/specific-information/beach-babies
Capturing Our Coast is the largest UK-wide project of its kind, inviting the public to get involved in the marine and coastal environments on their doorstep and use hands-on science to collect robust marine data. Capturing Our Coast is led by Newcastle University and funded by Heritage Lottery Funding