Shore Thing eNewsletter

Welcome to the third edition of the Shore Thing e-newsletter - Shore Thing continues to be supported by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and Natural England (NE) for which we are very grateful. We've had a great start to this year with a good number of surveys, training sessions and a visit to the stunning Culzean Castle for Clyde Marine Week.

Please get in touch if you would like to contribute to the next edition of the newsletter.


Shore Thing surveys - The number of surveys continues to increase which is great news. A total of 27 surveys have been conducted by students and volunteers this summer. (More)

Shore Thing Survey Guide - To help support surveyors we have produced a waterproof guide that includes information on how to conduct a survey plus photographs and key features of over 30 species. (More)

Bilingual resources for Wales - Welsh language resources are now available online and from the Shore Thing Project Officer. (More)

Training - A number of training courses have been held in Wales and Scotland. (More)

Clyde Marine Week - A Shore Thing survey was organized at Culzean as part of the Marine Conservation Society's Clyde Marine Week. (More)

National Marine Educators Conference, Boston - The Shore Thing Project Officer 'crossed the pond' for the annual National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) conference. This was an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with fellow marine educators. (More)

International carbon footprint challenge for schools - Join students from around the world in assessing how our different behaviors impact our carbon footprint. (More)

Shore Thing Surveys

The grand total for surveys so far this year stands at 27 which is again an increase on last year; excellent news. The majority of the surveys have been in Wales and Scotland plus 7 in Northern Ireland. Although we have no funding to support surveys in Northern Ireland, Julia Nunn at the Ulster Museum continues to send us records which is very much appreciated. Funding from Natural England now means we can increase the English component this Autumn.

We have a number of new sites established this year in North Wales and on the west coast of Scotland. These are important areas to monitor both the increasing populations of the thick top shell (Osilinus lineatus) at the northern limit of its range in Wales and non-native species such as wireweed (Sargassum muticum) which is becoming more abundant in Scotland.

The year is not yet over so if you haven't already done so then it's time to plan an autumn survey. Let's see if we can beat our 2010 total of 65 surveys.

All site locations are featured on the Shore Thing Google map where you can also download the data for a particular site

Shore Thing Survey Guide

Shore Thing Survey Guide

This new guide contains concise details on Shore Thing survey techniques and information to help with species identification. Printed on waterproof paper this A5, 24 page guide contains: a brief explanation of the main features of the rocky shore; details on how to carry out a transect survey and timed species search; anatomical features of seaweed and sea snails, and photographs and key features of 43 species. The species in the Guide are those we have included on the transect survey form.

Records of non-native species are becoming increasingly important to statutory agencies (SNH, CCW and NE) which is why we have also included details of 9 non-native species, records of which should be sent to the Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN)

This guide is free of charge to Shore Thing participants. Please contact the Shore Thing Project Officer, Fiona Crouch. Email: or telephone: 01752 633336. If you would like several copies then a donation towards post and packing would be very much appreciated.

Bilingual resources for Wales

For many, especially those living in north and west Wales, Welsh is their first language. In recognition of this and with the help of the translation team at CCW we have produced a Welsh language version of the Shore Thing recording form, the timed species search poster and sets of the species search cards with Welsh common names.

Please contact us if you would like copies of the poster and the 'Flash' cards. The recording form can be downloaded from the website (


The training session in North Wales (see previous e-newsletter) went ahead without a hitch thanks to the help of local organizers from the School of Ocean Sciences and Marine Ecological Solutions in Menai Bridge. Attendees included staff from Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), students from Bangor University, staff from CCW and teachers and students from Sir Thomas Jones High School in Amlwch.

Trainees on the rocky shore in the Menai Strait
Trainees on the rocky shore in the Menai Strait
Introduction to Shore Thing and ID session in the School of Ocean Sciences
Introduction to Shore Thing and ID session in the School of Ocean Sciences

The training session began on the shore in rather wet conditions; it was the middle of February after all. Despite the weather the trainees practiced the Shore Thing survey techniques conducting both a transect survey and timed species search. The fieldwork was followed by a presentation by Dr Stuart Jenkins, from the School of Ocean Sciences, on climate change, the potential impacts to our marine environment and Shore Thing techniques which included data handling. This was followed by an ID session giving trainees an opportunity to get a closer look at the seaweed and animals they recorded on the shore and others that they may encounter on future surveys.

The training session was a great success with participants providing very positive feedback such as the comment below from Inga Durkin a science teacher at Sir Thomas Jones School, Amlwch, Anglesey.

'I just wanted to let you know how well yesterday went for us. It was just what we needed - I got plenty of advice and reassurance from Stuart and Liz about identification and protocol (and now feel an awful lot happier about it), and the kids I took had a fantastic experience'.

The training has led to surveys being carried out on Anglesey by staff at the AONB and the students from Sir Thomas Jones with support from two students from Bangor University who also attended the course.

In Scotland Shore Thing training was the focus for two workshops organized by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) as part of their 'Wildlife Counts' initiative which encourages communities to start taking an interest in local biodiversity and recording it. The workshops were held at Culzean and Inverclyde. A total of 20 people attended the workshops which we hope will lead to community groups conducting surveys around Scotland.

Finally, the day before the Shore Thing event for Clyde Marine Week (see below) I took the National Trust for Scotland Rangers down to the shore at Culzean for a marine ID session. This not only proved useful for the Rangers but it also gave me the opportunity to explore the shore prior to the Shore Thing survey the following day.

Clyde Marine Week

Hosted by the Marine Conservation Society, Clyde Marine Week was a 'celebration of the unique wildlife found in and around the Clyde'. A Shore Thing Rockpool Ramble on the rocky shore at Culzean was one of many marine related activities organized throughout the week. Due to the time of low water we started with a timed species search. Species we found during the 20 minute search included: wireweed (Sargassum muticum), snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) and dabberlocks (Alaria esculenta). We then spent a good couple of hours discovering the diverse flora and fauna living on the shore before we were driven back to the Culzean Visitor Centre by the tide for a well deserved cup of tea.

I would like to thank the staff at Culzean Castle for their help, support and accommodation during Clyde Marine Week and their continued support of the Shore Thing project.

National Marine Educators Conference, Boston

The National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) aims to 'bring together those interested in the study and enjoyment of both fresh and salt water and provide a focus for marine and aquatic studies all over the world'. The NMEA is a North American group and hold an annual conference where marine educators can share their marine teaching experiences, discover new resources and technologies alongside the all important networking. When I was told about the availability of a stipend to attend the conference it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

Recipients of an NMEA stipend
Recipients of an NMEA stipend

There are similar projects to Shore Thing running in the United States and Europe from which we can share experiences and resources.

The NMEA have developed an Ocean Literacy programme which they are trying to introduce into the school curricula. This is happening slowly but, just like in the UK, educators face similar barriers, such as teachers having to focus studies on exam questions and both time and staff constraints when organizing fieldtrips.

The conference was an excellent networking opportunity and through the contacts we have made the MBA will be developing a European educators network with the aim of implementing a European Ocean Literacy Programme.

If you would like to get involved in such a network or want to be sent updates on how its developing and available resources please get in touch.

Inquiry-to-Insight - International Student Carbon Footprint challenge

I have been asked by the Geraldine Fauville at the Sven Loven Institute in Sweden to pass on details of an exciting opportunity for schools to be involved in the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC). Last year students from Sweden, France, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, the Maldives, Korea, and the United States participated but as yet no students from the UK. The September deadline for participation has passed but there are further opportunities in November or February.

Click on this link for details

Contact details

Fiona Crouch - Shore Thing Project Officer - The Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, Devon. PL1 2PB. Telephone: 01752 633336, Email: