Saturday, 21 September 2013

Worthing Beach Clean Event for Marine Conservation Society Survey


I am here on Worthing Beach with my buddy Steve helping out at a beach clean event. As you know I have helped clean up beaches around the world and also seen many animals that have died from swallowing plastic or who have become entangled.

The event is part of the Marine Conservation Society annual beach clean when they encourage as many people as possible around the UK to clean their local beach and record all the litter they find. This is part of a very important survey that the Marine Conservation Society do each year to monitor if the litter problem is getting worst and what types of litter are found on the beach and when possible - where it comes from. you can find out more on the link below

The beach event is organised locally by Transition Town a group who are making Worthing more sustainable in the way they do things and the way people live.

Lots of people turned up to sign up for the day

The nearby Fish Factory cooked a big paella of fresh sustainably caught sea food, so every one could have  a free portion before they headed off to the beach.

Groups of people had a section of the beach to clean and monitor.

We also had another job to do. While the people where collecting all the litter, Steve and I collected some natural animal objects washed up on the beach so we could tell people more about the animals that live off the coast.
We found several types of sea sponges, as well as seashells, cuttlefish bones and other interesting finds.

Also crab shells, this is a masked crab.

We saw some natural recyclers, carrion crows helping to clean the beach of dead animal remains when they scavenge for food.

And a little flock of wading birds called turnstones feeding on the waters edge.
They are called turnstones because they can flip pebbles and seaweed over with their beak to find tiny animals underneath that they feed on, such as sand hoppers.

We were also monitoring the ray and dogfish egg cases we found washed up. The egg cases are empty when they wash up on the beach. The shape is slightly different for various ray species.
If a lot of the same species get washed up on the same stretch of coast it may mean there is a nursery ground off shore. Many of our rays are endangered and finding their nursery grounds and protecting them will hopefully help.

This project is run by the Shark Trust and anyone can send in records of ray egg cases. You can find out more on the link below
This is a dogfish egg case, a type of cat shark that lives near the sea bed. We found many of these egg cases as well. A few larger shark species also visit Sussex water, including the blue shark, porbeagle shark and smoothhound. Earlier this year a basking shark, the second largest shark species, was seen off Brighton. The biggest sharks I have seen are great white sharks when visit shark experts Chris and Monique Fallows in South Africa last year.

At the end of the beach clean, all the rubbish was weighed and the information about all the litter collected was sent to the Marine Conservation Society.

Tomorrow we are doing our beach clean on Shoreham Beach and also surveying the litter to send to the Marine Conservation Society.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Newspaper article about the conference

Hi all

Here is a news paper article about the conference we took part in.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Ocean Literacy Conference part 2

The final morning of day three delegates went on various workshops. We chose to do the beach investigation and the plankton collecting.
This is the beach we travelled to near the aquarium, Dan who ran the workshop works at the aquarium.

There are some wonderful carvings of sea creatures at the tops of the beach and around this information board.

We started with an activity children take part in about limpets. The people who take part are limpets living on the beach. When  the tide is out they have to go to feed, when the tide comes in they return to their home scar - cut into the rock by living on the same spot. If a predator comes along, such as an oyster catcher, they have to clamp down tight. (see below)
My legs were to short to keep up so I watched. The person who was slowest each time to get to food, return to their home rock or clamp down is out. The activity continues until one person/limpet is left.

Then we all went down to explore the beach. there were lots of pools and gullies.
I soon found some limpets like the ones in the activity.

 The rocks were covered in sea weed and provided shelter in and out of the water for marine animals. Its a safe place to hide from predators and also nice and cool and damp on a hot day like today.

I lifted up some seaweed and found this bread crumb sponge.

Next I explored some pools

There were lots of small fish and prawns

There were other sea snails on the rocks and on the seaweed, which is there food. Seaweed also provide oxygen in the water for animals to breathe.

Some of the rocks were quite high for a little bear

It looks a long way down.
I found a Pacific Oyster. This is an invasive species. This means it should not be living on this beach - it escaped form an oyster farm where the oysters are farmed for food.
Later we moved to the harbour outside the aquarium and had a go at plankton trawling. The plankton get trapped in a little pot at the bottom of the net. I have helped with plankton trawls before when I was with NOAA in the USA.
We then  took the sample inside to see what we had found. Zoo plankton is made up of many animal larvae such as starfish and barnacles that eventually grow up and live on the seabed. Some animals, such as copepods also live in the plankton. We found lots of different zoo plankton animals.
That was the end of the conference for most people. But some of the scientists and educators had been invited to take part in a workshop for the rest of today and tomorrow morning. This included my buddy Steve.
We all met together and introduced ourselves and what we did. A few years ago a bunch of scientists and educators got together and created a list of all the things people should know about the ocean. This list became part of the K12 curriculum in USA schools (this is the primary and secondary school level in the UK).
The aim of the conference was to look at the list of ideas to see if they would be relevant for the UK and Europe. We agreed that most were relevant to our schools as well. The conference delegates some scientists and some educators discussed ways that we could work towards bringing more ocean topics to UK and European Schools.
Part of this would be making Transatlantic and global links with schools and scientists. Because I have been travelling to meet scientists and making links with schools, they were interested in Steve telling them about my project.  
They all seemed very interested and thought that this could be one of the ways that schools could learn about the ocean along with other scientific ideas.
The conference was very exciting but this was just the first step, a lot more work is yet to come - but all very exciting.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ocean Literacy Conference part 1


I was recently invited along with my buddy Steve to attend a marine educators conference at Plymouth University. The conference has been organised by the Marine Biological Association and European Marine Science Educators Association.
The first two days of the conference were a fascinating mixture of speakers about the marine environment and marine education. There were also workshops too.
Some of the delegates provided posters of their work and the delegates could look at these during breaks and lunch (the lunch was delicious).
My buddy Steve made a poster of my journeys called One World One Ocean a Cross curriculum approach.

On the evening of the second day, delegates could go to the conference dinner which was held at the Plymouth Aquarium. Before dinner we had a tour of the aquarium.

Spiny lobster

Coral reef tank

Massive ocean tank

My favourite, eagle rays.

Delicate moon jellies

Dinner in the shark tunnel. Grey nurse sharks, rays and many other fish.

Including these grey triggerfish