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

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

2023

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

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

2024

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

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