Chagos MPA, Film

July 1st, 2010

The Chagos Islands and surrounding seas were designated a Marine Protected Area by the UK government in early April 2010. The Chagos has the world’s largest coral atoll and 55 tiny islands set in quarter of a million square miles of the world’s cleanest seas.  This is the UK’s greatest area of marine biodiversity.

To see short film which shows the wonderful life click on following link:

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Awards for all

June 27th, 2010

Awards for all - lottery funded.

As a local area group we try to inform, entertain and educate people about the wonderful marine life in the seas around Britain. We do this through a programme of talks and events – both within our own lecture series, (see our diary) but also to other groups by invitation.

For some years now presentations have been moving to electronic format – Powerpoint(R) and the like, and we have struggled to borrow equipment (thanks to everyone who has helped out!), and with compatibility issues. While we have never yet had to cancel a presentation due to total incompatibility between a speaker’s talk and the equipment to hand, it has come pretty close on a number of occasions…

As a consequence it is a great relief to announce that we have been awarded National Lottery Funding to purchase our own digital projector, laptop and the associated software. While it will take us a couple of weeks to get fully organised, we hope this is the end of pre-presentation worries!

A big thanks to the Big Lottery Fund, and to Jo for co-ordinating our application.

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Starfish and anemones

June 14th, 2010

Starfish and anemones at Noup Head, Orkney.

The Marine ID course on Wednesday 9th June looked at two of the most commonly found animals in the sea – starfish and the anemones, or to get more technical, echinoderms and cnidaria. The talks looked at the characteristic features of the two groups, and were beautifully illustrated with photographs of many different species, mostly taken by the speakers in UK waters. Thanks to Gordon and Ron for a couple of excellent presentations!

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Roa Island dive

June 7th, 2010

Conditions for the dive at Roa Island on Saturday 5th. June were almost perfect, bright sun.little wind, calm and undisturbed water which gave underwater visibility  in excess of  3 metres.

Swimming approx. SW from the jetty towards the middle of the channel, initially over  a sea bed of cobbles covered with tube worms, common winkles and dog whelks with numerous clumps of dog whelk eggs.  At about 4 metres deep the bed changed to small boulders with a dense  covering of  various seaweeds which included sea lettuce and  bootlace weed.  continuing downward at minus 6 metres the weed  disappeared  to be replaced on the boulders by a number of species of sponge. Between the boulders were many varied and different animals including peacock worms, anemones, and various species of crab.  After a short distance the sea bed changed again to  pebbles with hard mud patches, this continued to max. depth of dive at 10.3 metres. There was still lots of life to see on this gentle slope, including hermit crabs, whelks, anemones and the greater pipe fish. The pipe fish were quite common at all depths through-out the dive. On this deeper part of the dive there were many common starfish, a large number with parts of arms missing.  They had not been shed, more like cut or torn off, the detached parts were also strewn over the sea bed. All in all an excellent and very interesting dive.

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Morecambe Bay seaweed sequence

April 28th, 2010

Seaweed sequence at Jenny Browns Point, Morecambe Bay, UK

As part of the current Marine ID course I’ve been running around trying to get together photos of some common seaweed for part 2… Unfortunately the local coastline is not at all hospitable to seaweed, the extensive mudflats of Morecambe bay are good for molluscs and worms, but offer few attachment points for the larger algal species (I think the phytoplankton might be a fascinating study – but that would be a bit outside the current remit!).

Never the less, I took my camera down to the beach at the weekend for the MCS walk from Warton Crag and round Jenny Browns Point by Silverdale (Saturday 24th April).

Here there is some hard ground, allowing seaweed to get a hold. Highest up the rocks appeared Blidingia (filamentous green stuff) and small amounts of Ulva intestinalis (fatter tubular green stuff), followed by Pelvetia canaliculata (channel wrack), at the base of the sequence was Fucus spriralis (spiral wrack) – beyond that stretched the mud as far as the eye can see…

The complete sequence was over in about 30cm of height – so extremely truncated!

Thanks to Hilary for organising the walk (my feet have almost forgiven me!)

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XKCD’s Desert Island

April 28th, 2010

“Day 44: Still stranded with nothing but empty water as far as the eye can see”

XKCD's desert island

More truth in this cartoon than a page of words. Enjoy! (View full size).

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Tales from the riverbank

March 11th, 2010

Thanks to Michelle Cooper of Lancaster Maritime Museum for a very beautifully illustrated talk on the river Lune through Lancaster (Wednesday 11th March 2010). Lots of views of activity on the river over the last 400 years, which got everyone in the audience judging how things have changed. The images used to illustrate the talk were from the Lancaster City Council collection. These will be on display at the Maritime Museum until the 11th April 2010. For more information:

Tales from the riverbank

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Coast Photography Competition

March 8th, 2010

The competition is part of the celebration of the silver anniversary of the Lancaster Maritime Museum. Photographs on the COAST theme – from shipwrecks to sandy beaches – are invited. The best entries will be displayed in the Exhibition Gallery.

For further details, including PRIZES, please see the entry form below:

Coast photo competition entry form. (300kB PDF)

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The Arctic and Antarctic – above and below the ice

February 23rd, 2010

by Charlotte Caffrey MSc. FRGS

An exploration of the wildlife, marine life and scenery of Spitzbergen, Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula.

This is a special event organised by the Preston Society (The Preston Bird watching & Natural History Society) to mark their 3000th. presentation/lecture!

At: 7.30pm on Saturday 28th 27th November, 2010
Location: St. Mary’s Church Hall, Cop Lane, Penwortham, Preston PR1 0SR

Tickets costing £3.50 each available through the Preston Society – full details in the form linked below:

The arctic and antactic – booking form (corrected)

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Photo Competition 2010

February 22nd, 2010

The three categories this year were Above water, underwater and humerous, and the winners, declared by popular vote at the meeting on the 10th of February were:

Greenland sea ice, by Chrissie Ryan

Above: In the above water category, Greenland sea ice, by Chrissie Ryan.

Scorpionfish by Lewis Bambury

Above: In the underwater category, Scorpionfish by Lewis Bambury.

Fish head by Chrissie Ryan.

Above: In the humerous category, Fish head by Chrissie Ryan.

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