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Marine Life & Conservation

Ocean Sanctuaries To Collaborate With Australian ‘Shark Base’ Citizen Science Program

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Bull Sharks

Ocean Sanctuaries 2In keeping with the founding spirit of ‘open data’ and ‘data sharing,’ Ocean Sanctuaries will be collaborating with Australian shark researcher Dr. Ryan Kempster and his Shark-Base citizen science shark program to share data collected by citizen science divers from around the world.

Dr. Kempster is a shark biologist in the Neuroecology Group at the University of Western Australia. His research focuses on the sensory biology and conservation of sharks and rays.  Sharks have always been his passion, and protecting them his goal.  To do this, Dr. Kempster has embarked on a career in research to better understand sharks. He takes every opportunity to communicate his findings to the general public in the hope that he can inspire others to follow in his passion for protecting these amazing animals.

Dr. Kempster founded the shark conservation group Support Our Sharks to inform the world about the plight of the most vulnerable shark species.  As most sharks serve as top predators at the pinnacle of the marine food pyramid, they regulate the natural balance of these ecosystems. The effects of removing sharks from the ocean ecosystems, although complex and rather unpredictable, are likely to be ecologically and economically damaging.

Source: shark-base.org/team

For more information on Shark-Base, click here and here.

Marine Life & Conservation

Marine Conservation Society & Natural History Museum launch first Big Seaweed Search Week

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There are over 650 species of seaweed found around the UK. From dabberlocks to bladder wrack and sugar kelp, each seaweed plays a vital role in supporting the health of our seas, and the planet.

From 26th July – 1st August 2021, the Marine Conservation Society and Natural History Museum will be asking people across the UK to get involved and spot seaweed at the seaside as part of Big Seaweed Search Week.

The Big Seaweed Search equips beachgoers with the knowledge to identify 14 of the most common types of seaweed found at the UK seaside. This vital information is then shared with the Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society, who use the data to inform research on how the presence of different seaweed has changed over time due to environmental factors such as climate change.

Kate Whitton_Marine Conservation Society

Professor Juliet Brodie, Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum and Big Seaweed Search: “By taking part in Big Seaweed Search Week you’ll be helping to contribute to our ongoing scientific research into seaweeds.

“As climate change affects our seas, we’re seeing temperature increases, sea level rise and the impact of ocean acidification. These changes can affect the distribution of different seaweed species around the UK coastline. For example, dabberlocks, a large brown seaweed, is declining in abundance around our coasts, and the number of non-native species in the seaweed flora is increasing year on year. By mapping where different seaweed species are, we can create a baseline from which to determine the impact of environmental changes on our seas.”

Some of the most common and best known seaweeds are brown seaweeds: bladder wrack, with distinctive air-filled bladders and spiral wrack, which often has a spiral twist. Also easily identified is sugar kelp, which has a tough, elongated strap-shaped frond that has a crinkled, dimpled or ruffled surface. Kelps are cold water species, and form kelp forests in many parts of the world’s seas.

Not only are seaweeds a great source of nutrients and energy for animals such as crabs and sea urchins, but they also create critical habitats for other species, acting as nurseries for young fish and places where other sea creatures can take cover from predators.

Alex Mustard – Young lumpsucker

Seaweeds such as kelp are also vital ‘blue carbon’ stores, absorbing carbon from the water and atmosphere just like forests on land. The storage of blue carbon can be in the plants themselves, like seaweed and seagrass; in the seafloor sediment where plants are rooted; or even in the animals which live in the water, including seabirds, fish and larger mammals. Unfortunately, 38% of kelp populations are reported to be declining around the world, limiting ocean ecosystems’ abilities to absorb carbon and fight the climate crisis.

Justine Millard, Head of Volunteer and Community Engagement at the Marine Conservation Society:“We’re hoping lots of people will join Big Seaweed Search Week this year as they head to the coast. We want people across the UK to learn about the wonders of seaweed, spread the word, and help us collect vital information which will support our ongoing research.”

The Natural History Museum and Marine Conservation Society have developed a helpful guide, highlighting key features of the different seaweeds likely to be spotted by the seaside.

To get involved, just complete the simple survey on a mobile, tablet or computer which can be carried out as an individual or in groups.

Register to take part and download the guide and recording form at www.bigseaweedsearch.org

  • Choose your 5 m of coastline to survey
  • Fill in your survey form
  • Take LOTS of clear, close-up photographs for your survey to be accepted
  • Submit your survey through bigseaweedsearch.org
  • Don’t forget to upload your photographs when you submit your survey

You can visit the Big Seaweed Search website for all the information you’ll need to get started.

Header Image: Spiny starfish up on kelp by Paul Naylor

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Marine Life & Conservation

Queen of the Mantas now on WaterBear

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Watch the WaterBear Original Film Now!

Dr. Andrea Marshall a.k.a. “Queen of the Mantas” has dedicated her life to studying manta rays, one of the most intelligent, and at 7 meters, one of the largest creatures in the ocean.

As co-founder of The Marine Megafauna Foundation, she leads the research on this globally threatened species. Whether scuba diving through tropical waters to observe their behavior or flying through the air to gather data from above, her groundbreaking discoveries have changed our understanding of this mysterious ocean creature. But upon discovery of a grave threat to her beloved manta rays, she must fight against the odds to ensure the survival of this magnificent species.

WaterBear is the first interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. Whatever you feel passionately about in the world of climate action, biodiversity, sustainability, community, and more, WaterBear provides access to award-winning and inspirational content that empowers members to dive deeper, learn more, and take action. It’s completely free and available in 40 countries around the globe.

Click here to watch the WaterBear original film on the real-life story of MMF’s co-founder and global manta ray expert, Dr. Andrea Marshall.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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