Useful links

Online ID guides are gathered together at the foot of this page: Link to ID guides

British Marine Life Pictures

Jason Gregory's collection of marine life photos from around the British Isles, some nice photos to help you ID what you've seen!

Cumbria wildlife trust

Supported by over 14,000 members, the Cumbria WLT work in partnership with landowners, local authorities, other conservation organisations and businesses to conserve and protect wildlife and wild places throughout Cumbria.

Fish online

If you are concerned about declining fish stocks and the welfare of our seas the MCS can help you identify which fish are from well managed sources and/or caught using methods that minimise damage to marine wildlife and habitats (Apps and a pocketbook is available):

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

The MCS is the UK's national charity dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife.

Since 1977, the MCS has worked successfully to highlight issues of concern and threats to marine wildlife and the wider marine environment, bringing them to the attention of the public, media, politicians and Government agencies.

MCS involves thousands of volunteers in surveys and other projects, and has several regional groups. Current projects include Seasearch and Beachwatch, which you can get involved with through the Lancashire Area Group (see our diary), Adopt a turle, the Coral reef campaign and more...

Morcambe Bay Partnership

The Morecambe Bay Partnership works towards sustainable management for the coast by improving the co-ordination and communication between local people, local authorities, agencies, industries, and voluntary bodies. It addresses many of the issues of interest to people on the Lancashire and Cumbria coastline.


Porcupine an informal society interested in marine natural history and recording, particularly in the North East Atlantic region and the Mediterranean Sea. Its aims are to promote a wider understanding of the biology, ecology and distribution of marine organisms, through interaction and exchange of information between those with interests in different aspects of marine biology, amateur and professional alike.


Seasearch is a national project run by the Marine Conservation Society for volunteer sports divers who have an interest in what they're seeing under water, want to learn more and want to help protect the marine environment.

The aim is to map out the various types of seabed found in the near-shore zone, up to about 5 miles off the coast or 30m depth around the whole of the British Isles. In addition Seasearch is recording what lives in each area, establishing the richest sites for marine life, the sites where there are problems and the sites which need protection.

The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester & North Merseyside

Our local WLT now has a new online 'Learning and Discovery' section devoted to the Irish Sea, and has many activities organised over the summer months promoting this vital area for wildlife.

Identification guides

The Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN)

MarLIN aims to provide the most comprehensive and easily used source of information about marine habitats, communities and species around Britain and Ireland. MarLIN is bringing together from a range of sources - Universities, Government agencies, NGOs, and volunteers. It provides a lot of information on the web about the known distribution of species.

Marine Species Identification Portal

The Marine Species Identification Portal offers regional keys for identifying major groups of organisms. The keys for NE Atlantic and Mediterranean are fairly comprehensive, other areas of the world are less well represented. These ID guides are based on pictorial keys - so fairly easy to use.

Marine Species Identification Portal

Catalogue of Life

Aims to catalogue every species on the planet...


The following allow you to search for fish by common or scientific names, FishBase provides an overview of the biology/distribution etc. with photographs to aid disambiguation/identification.

FishBase and Eschmeyer's Catalog of Fishes


Lets you search marine species data from around the world.