Disappearing diatoms and Sex in Copepods

Plankton from Morecambe Bay.

Disappearing diatoms and Sex in Copepods – Knott End Plankton round up, Spring 2024
Talks by Mark Woombs and Barry Kaye (Lancashire MCS) on Wednesday 8th May 2024 at 19:30 at Lancaster Maritime museum.

We are now into our third year studying the plankton at Knott End, and this year we are witness to a failure of the Spring phytoplankton bloom due to poor weather. Perhaps for the same reason, the copepod breeding season has been pushed back two months; though zooplankton numbers as a whole seem to be resilient… Join us to find out more!

If you would liek to check out some of the data from our plankton surveys at Knott End for yourself, there is a graphical interface on our website. This allows you to select plankton by groups or individual species, and follow how their populations have changed over the last eighteen months.

POSTER: Plankton, Spring 2024 (172kB PDF)

Posted: May 3rd, 2024
Posted in Marine science update, MCS talks

Renewable Energy and the Community

A talk by John Blowes on Wednesday 10th April 2024 at 19:30

Halton Hydro, photo John Blowes.

Above: The Halton Lune Hydro project turbine room and fish pass are designed to blend in with the traditional architecture on the Lune, photo by John Blowes.

Our talk by John Blowes, Director and Chairman of the Halton Lune Hydro covers protection of the environment by various methods with a focus of the Halton Hydro community project. The talk will touch on environmental issues such as tidal marshes, underwater grasses and pollution, but is otherwise about the Hydro project technical, environmental and financial.

John’s talk will be preceded by a brief public AGM for the group.

POSTER: Renewable Energy and the Community (224kB PDF)

Posted: April 5th, 2024
Posted in MCS talks

The marine life of the first Morecambe Bay – 350 million years ago!

A talk by Trevor Lund on Wednesday 13th March 2024 at 19:30

 Artist's impression of the Bay 350 MYA – spot the mistakes! Image by Mark Woombs/Adobe AI.

Above: Artist’s impression of the Bay 350 MYA – spot the mistakes! Image by Mark Woombs/Adobe AI.

The area that is now Morecambe Bay was covered in sea once before during the Carboniferous geological period. In this talk we look at the evidence for this in the rocks and fossils of the Bay area. We look at how geologists have used modern marine environments to work out the ecosystems and environments of the past. It is surprising how these marine creatures were adapted in a similar way to their modern equivalents, to survive and flourish in the same kind of environment.

Poster: 202403 The Bay 350MYA PDF format 215kB.

At Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George’s Quay, Lancaster, LA1 1RB
£4 donation requested to Lancashire MCS
Everybody Welcome!

Posted: February 28th, 2024
Posted in Events, MCS talks

How are salt marshes helping to protect the North West coast

A talk by Joseph Earl (Morecambe Bay Partnership) on Wednesday 14th February 2024 at 19:30:

Our Future Coast - Restoring Saltmarshes

Above: Restoring our salt marshes is an initiative of the Our Future Coast project.

Driven by climate change, coastal areas globally are facing increased risks of flooding and erosion. We’ll explore the crucial role that natural coastal environments like saltmarshes, found extensively around Morecambe Bay, could play in protecting people and places from climate change into the future.

Joseph’s talk will highlight the unique ecological and coastal defence value of saltmarshes and discover how we can better support and manage them. He will introduce a series of case studies around Morecambe Bay where saltmarsh is being restored through the Our Future Coast project, part of DEFRA’s national flood and coastal resilience innovation programme.

Poster: 202402 Saltmarsh Restoration (222kB PDF format).

At Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George’s Quay, Lancaster, LA1 1RB
£4 donation requested to Lancashire MCS
Everybody Welcome!

Posted: January 24th, 2024
Posted in Events, MCS talks

Beyond the tearoom, the wildlife of the Small Isles (Muck, Eigg, Rum, Canna) and Knoydart

A talk by Mark Woombs (Lancashire MCS)

Wildlife of the small isles

Does the Isle of Muck have the best tearoom in the Hebrides? Come along to Wednesday’s’ talk to find out and look at the amazing marine wildlife that lives around the the Small Isles and the surrounding area.

At Lancaster Maritime Museum on Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 19:30

Posted: January 7th, 2024
Posted in Events, MCS talks

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