Christmas Quiz 2024

Midland Hotel in snow
Snow on the iconic Midland Hotel in Morecambe, by Lewis Bambury November 2021.

The return of our annual Christmas quiz, with more fiendish and fun questions prepared by Lewis to test your knowledge of current, local and maritime trivia…

Christmas quiz poster (327 kB PDF)

Posted: November 28th, 2023
Posted in Events

Light and Colour Underwater

A talk by Barry Kaye, Lancashire MCS: 19:30 on Wednesday 8th November at the Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George’s Quay, Lancaster, LA1 1RB.

Jellyfish at Bloackpool Sealife Centre

Above: Some colourfully lit plankton from our visit to the Blackpool Sealife Centre last month.

Sunlight provides the power for photosynthesis, and is essential for life on Earth. While green plants make direct use of light, animals have evolved complex eyes adapted for vision in a range of marine environments; from shallow, brightly lit tropical waters, the dark green seas around our own coasts, and down to the abyssal depths where sunlight never penetrates…

In this talk I will try to show how things appear to the plants and animals that make the sea their home. We will see that colour may play a part in hiding from predators or attracting a mate, and many sea creatures perception and use of light is very different to our own.

Some marine animals have visual abilities that look like ‘superpowers’ compared to our own limited eyesight, but vision seems to be a very plastic sense that rapidly adapts to help (marine) organisms cope with their favoured environments. The world they see may be very different to what our eyes can make out, when we peer through a diving mask, or watch the ‘Blue Planet’ with David Attenborough!

Poster for Light and Colour Underwater 146kB PDF

As you may be aware the Lancaster Maritime Museum has suffered some devastating cuts to its budget, so we are very grateful to them for offering to host our meetings this Winter. Our full programme of talks is given below:

Lancashire MCS Winter Programme 2023-24


8th November: Light and Colour Underwater by Barry Kaye (Lancashire MCS).

13th December: Christmas Quiz by Lewis Bambury (Lancashire MCS).


10th January: Beyond the tearoom, the wildlife of the Small Isles (Muck, Eigg, Rum, Canna) and Knoydart by Mark Woombs (Lancashire MCS).

14th February: How are salt marshes helping to protect the North West coast? By Joseph Earl (Morecambe Bay Partnership).

13th March: The marine life of the first Morecambe Bay – 350 million years ago! By Trevor Lund.

10th April: Protecting the Environment – Realistically by John Blowes (Halton Lune Hydro) PLUS local group AGM.

8th May: Plankton of the Bay by Mark Woombs and Barry Kaye (Lancashire MCS).

12th June: Blackpool and Fylde College student dissertations (several 10 minute presentations).

All talks start an 19:30, at the Lancaster Maritime Museum. We request a donation of £4 per person to cover costs. This presentation will be available over Zoom, please contact us (contact page) if you would like, to receive a link. We do ask for a donation to cover Zoom charges.

Posted: November 2nd, 2023
Posted in MCS talks

GBBC Half Moon Bay 2023

Thanks to everybody who came along on the 23rd September for the Beach Clean at Half Moon Bay, part of the National MCS Great British Beach Clean 2023. In common with recent events, both survey areas on the beach were exceptionally clean.

Above: Beach clean volunteers from the Half Moon Bay 2 survey area, September 2023.

We collected the least amount of litter that we’ve found on recent cleans. Even the number of plastic fragments was down from a few hundred (usually) to 51. However, this may rise when Becca’s data is added from HMB 2. The overall weight from the surveyed areas was 1.62 kg. A group also cleaned beyond the survey areas and they collected a further 3kg, and many bottles from the seating area on the fore-shore.

Above: Some of the team from Half Moon Bay survey area 1.

Our next beach clean date will be early December (not yet agreed)

Kathy MacAdam, 30th September 2023.

Posted: September 30th, 2023
Posted in Beach Clean

Phytoplankton of Morecambe Bay

Wednesday 14th June at 19:30 at Lancaster Maritime Museum

Phase contrast micrograph of phytoplankton, BK April 2023.
Above: Phase contrast micrograph of phytoplankton at Knott End, April 2023. Species depicted come from number of families include Asterionellopsis, Stephanopyxis, Chaetocerus, Pseudo-nitzschia, Odontella and Ditylum, indicating just some of the diversity on our doorstep! Photomicrograph Barry Kaye.

Phytoplankton are the smallest plants on the planet, yet vital to all life. While they drift at the mercy of ocean currents, they are very sensitive to their environment, and are capable of explosive growth when they encounter the right conditions. In this talk we will look at the phytoplankton sampled at Knott End over the last 18 months, to get a glimpse of its diversity, and begin to understand how it changes over time.

Join us on Wednesday 14th June 2023 at 19:30 at Lancaster Maritime Museum to find out more.

Posted: May 30th, 2023
Posted in MCS talks, Science

Mark’s Mini Monsters

A talk by Mark Woombs, looking at some of the zooplankton in Morecambe Bay.

Planktonic worm larvae and the reef they may eventually form.

Above: Planktonic worm larvae (top left, shows micrographs at two stages of development) eventually settle to form reefs up to 2m tall, like this one close to Conger Rock, Morecambe (with Heysham power station in the background). Photos Mark Woombs.

Is it possible that a microscopic worm can develop into this extensive reef close to the town of Morecambe, via a trip around the Irish sea? Come along to our next MCS meeting and find out about this, and many other amazing happenings in Morecambe Bay!

To find out more, join us at the Lancaster Maritime Museum on Wednesday 10th May 2023 at 19:30 for:

Mark’s Mini Monsters – Zooplankton of Morecambe Bay

by Mark Woombs (Lancashire MCS)

Posted: May 2nd, 2023
Posted in MCS talks, Science

Blockships of Scapa Flow

The Tabarka with inserts of other wrecks and the sea-life that inhabits them.
Above: The wreck of the Tabarka with inserts of other blockships and the sea-life that inhabits them. Photos Lewis Bambury and Gordon Fletcher, Lancashire MCS.

Scapa Flow is best known as the final resting place of the German High Seas Fleet from the Great War; but it is also home to large numbers of less important vessels sunk to block channels and so protect the Royal Navy from U-boats. These vessels are often in shallow water, and are in turn home to a wide range of interesting, and often colourful marine life.

To find out more, join us at the Lancaster Maritime Museum on Wednesday 8th March 2023 at 19:30 for:

The ‘Tabarka’ and other blockships of Scapa Flow

by Gordon Fletcher and Lewis Bambury (Lancashire MCS)

Posted: March 3rd, 2023
Posted in MCS talks

The Azolla story: How an amazing plant changed our climate

A talk by Alexandra and Jonathan Bujak (Azolla Foundation)

Carp and ducks eating azolla in China. A fisherman is collecting azolla to feed his livestock.
Above: Carp and ducks eating azolla in China. A fisherman is collecting azolla to feed his livestock. Image rendered by Victor Leshyk from the cover of ‘The Azolla Story’.

49 million years ago a plant called azolla covered the surface of the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Azolla Event lasted 1.2 million years, during which time azolla sequestered enormous quantities of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere, and moved our planet’s climate from a greenhouse world to the ice-age climate, with permanent ice and snow at both poles…

If you would like to know more, The Azolla Story: A message from the future by Jonathan Bujak and Alexandra Bujak is available from Amazon.

Alternative Zoom meeting details are available through our Newsletter – you can subscribe here.

All are welcome, we request a donation of £4 to cover costs of room hire and speaker expenses.

Wednesday 11th January 2023 at 19:30 at Lancaster Maritime Museum.

Posted: January 5th, 2023
Posted in Events, Marine science update, MCS talks, Science

Plankton Calendar 2023

MCS WRT calendar 2023
Some highlights from the MCS/WRT Plankton calendar 2023

One of this year’s projects has been to carry out regular plankton samples in the Wyre estuary at the Knott End slipway in conjunction with the Wyre Rivers Trust. Jean has worked up some of Mark’s super photos from the surveys, and put them as pin-ups for the coming 12 months in our calendar. Armed with this, next time you go in the sea, you will know who you are swimming with!

Calendars are on sale at £8 each, proceeds to Lancashire MCS and WRT. Collect at our meetings in December or January. Please note that numbers are limited!

Posted: December 1st, 2022
Posted in Science, Uncategorized

GB Beach Clean: Half Moon Bay

Beach clean survey underway!
Surveying beach litter at Half Moon Bay, September 2022

Thanks to everyone who came along on the 24th September as part of the Great British Beach Clean, the results for the clean are as follows:

  • Total litter for whole beach 6kg
  • 240 items per 100m of beach cleaned
  • 378 plastic items, accounting for 79% of total by number.
  • Sanitary/sewage related items accounted for 6.2% of the total. This consisted of wet wipes, cotton bud sticks etc.
  • Other groups making up the rest of the total

National statistics are correlated by MCS, and will be available through their website soon

Our next beach clean at Half Moon Bay is on Saturday 3rd December 2022 at 11:00. Furether details to follow…

Kathy MacAdam

Posted: October 4th, 2022
Posted in Beach Clean

MCS Talk: Fisheries for Large Pelagics

Wednesday 12th October at 19:30 at the Maritime Museum Lancaster:

A talk by by Andy Richardson (Royal Society of Biology) examining the fascinating biology, sustainability challenges and innovations behind the offshore fishery for tuna and other pelagic species.

Please be aware that the meeting room is up four flights of stairs. The lift at the Maritime museum has been repaired. Alternative Zoom meeting details are available through our Newsletter – you can subscribe here.

All are welcome, we request a donation of £4 to cover costs of room hire and speaker expenses.

Posted: October 4th, 2022
Posted in Marine science update, MCS talks