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  • Shore Thing
  • Marine Aliens
  • Blue Sound
  • Outer Bristol Channel Marine Habitat Study Site
  • Deep-Sea Species Image Catalogue
  • Genus Trait Handbook

MarLIN Help

Frequently asked questions

If you have any further questions, i.e. that are not answered below, please email us at


Website navigation

How can I find my way around the website?

To allow you to easily navigate your way around the site we have provided different navigational methods.

We have also provided links to relevant outside information. For example, the species pages provide a link to a Google searches, survey data via DASSH and the National Biodiversity Network, and WORMS.

Biology and sensitivity key information pages

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Why can't I find the species I'm interested in?

MarLIN specialises in marine benthic invertebrates in North East Atlantic waters, although we do include important intertidal or benthic fish, the marine mammals or reptiles.

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What species and habitats have we researched, and why?

There are about 8,500 marine species recorded in British and Irish waters (so far). We quickly realised that we could not research them all in the time available to us. Therefore, we have had to prioritize.

Species information research has focused on species listed under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the EC Habitats Directive, the Wildlife & Countryside Act (click here for information) or species that are nationally rare or scarce. These are augmented by species of important in marine habitats, e.g. keystone species, ecosystem engineers, or characteristic species of biotopes or species important for community function. Biotope key information targets biotopes identified within the interest features marine SACs in English, Welsh and Scottish waters.

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How can I cite your key information reviews?

Please use the citation provided at the bottom of a species information page. This will be under the text "This review can be cited as follows:". A citation will look similar to the following (with differences for species or biotope name).

Marisa Sabatini, 2008. Cyanea lamarcki. Blue jellyfish. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 17/04/2009]. Available from: <>

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Can I use the images on your website?

The images on our website have been kindly donated by a number of image providers. Their use is governed by our 'terms & conditions' which spell out how the images can and cannot be used.

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Whats units do we use for salinity?

Salinity is a measure of the concentration of dissolved salts in seawater. Salinity is defined as the ratio of the mass of dissolved material in sea water to the mass of sea water (UNESCO, 1985). But this 'absolute' definition is not practical. Salinity was measured by a chlorinity titration but with the development of the salinometer, which utilizes conductivity, a new definition was developed. The 'practical salinity' (S) of a sea water sample is defined as the ratio of the electrical conductivity of the sample (at 15 C, and one standard atmospheric pressure) to that of a standard solution of potassium Chloride (KCl). A ratio of 1 is equivalent to a 'practical salinity' of 35 (UNESCO, 1985).

Until recently, salinity was expressed as parts per thousand (ppt or ). Subsequently, adoption of the 'practical salinity' gave rise to the 'practical salinity unit' (psu). However 'salinity', defined as the ratio of two quantities of the same unit, is a 'dimensionless quality', i.e. takes no units. Therefore, it is correct to speak of a salinity of 35 (UNESCO, 1985).

Baretta-Bekker et al. (1992) suggested that, in most cases, where a high degree of accuracy is not required, old and new figures for salinity can be used interchangeably. However for the sake of accuracy, when referring to salinity in our on-line reviews, the units used by the original authors are quoted in the text.

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How do we reference information cited in the text?

MarLIN uses the Havard (Author Date) system of referencing. The name of the authors are indicated in the text together with the date of publication. Full citations are given in the reference lists and bibliography using the Journal of the Marine Biological Association (JMBA) house style where an author has more than one publication in any one year, the date is appended with a letter, e.g. 1984a, 1984b. Please note, the lettering is consistent through the entire website bibliography, rather than any individual review.

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Fucus vesiculosus in weight loss patches! Does it work and is it safe?

We received numerous enquiries concerning the use of seaweed extracts, particularly Fucus vesiculosus, in weight loss 'patches' and other products in 2003. In response, we contacted an email list-server for international algal biologists for their advice.

There is not enough space here for their detailed comments. However, in summary, the majority of respondents were highly sceptical about the efficacy of Fucus extracts in 'patches' for weight loss. One respondent noted that seaweed extracts probably had therapeutic properties but emphasised the need for medical supervision in their use.

The nutritional and therapeutic properties of seaweeds are outside our sphere of expertise. The above merely summarises the comments of others. We can only suggest that anyone interested in weight loss products should obtain professional medical advice beforehand.

Access to data

Data (e.g. survey data or records) presented via the MarLIN website are managed and hosted by DASSH and are subject to DASSH's terms and conditions. For further information please see the DASSH FAQ.

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I am a teacher and want to use information on the seashore for a class.

Please get in touch. We are trying to engage with the educational community and can provide you with additional materials like ID guides. Please feel free to copy our educational Web pages as a resource

Recording schemes

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Do you record anything?

We certainly will take most records but we are primarily interested in seabed and seashore species. For fish, basking sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles and seahorses we can point you in the right direction through our Signpost Project.

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Why should I record marine wildlife?

The seas around Britain and Ireland are changing, in response to pressures from human activities, introduced species and climate change. If we are to understand and document these changes we need to establish a baseline of what is where for this decade.

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How do I enter my records?

You can record your sightings of marine wildlife on-line, or download a paper version of the form if you prefer. Please remember that biological records require, who, what, where, and when as a mimimum.

If you are a new volunteer recorder we ask you to supply your details once only. We need basic details from you to verify the records we receive. For example, we may need to contact you for further information, or if a record is unusual.

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Ive found a stranded whale/dolphin/porpoise/turtle! What should I do?

Whale, dolphin and porpoise live strandings.

In the UK please contact:
RSPCA 0870 55 55 999 and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (UK Hotline) 01634 281680

Or in Scotland
The Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit - 01261851696
SSPCA - Edinburgh 0131 339 0111
SSPCA - Inverness 01463 231191
SSPCA - Aberdeen 01224 581236

For the strandings of dead animals, contact the Natural History Museum 02079 425155

or for strandings of dead animals in Devon & Cornwall please contact:
Cornwall: Cornwall Wildlife Trust (01872) 273939
Devon: Devon Wildlife Trust (01392) 433221
or Lindy Hingley (01803) 752253


Entangled or stranded turtles should be reported immediately to the following contacts:
England & Wales:
Marine Environmental Monitoring - 01348 875000;
RSPCA (live strandings) 08705 555999
SSPCA 0131 339 0111 (24hrs)
Northern Ireland:
Portrush Countryside Centre02870 823600 or 07770 570350 (24hrs)
University College Cork 00 353 (0) 21 4904140 / 00353 (0) 21 4897392

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Marine animals are wild. They can carry diseases which are transferable to humans, and they can cause injury by thrashing their tails or otherwise. Never put yourself at risk of injury.

  1. Approach animals with care, and if in doubt wait for help.
  2. Do not attempt to move heavy animals without adequate assistance.
  3. Always wash your hands thoroughly after contact.
  4. Children are particularly at risk from marine mammals, and should stay well clear of them.

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