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Explore Your Shore!

If you missed our Big Beach Biodiversity Survey at Cranfield Beach, it’s not too late to get involved. The session was held at low tide with Dave Wall, citizen science coordinator for the National Biodiversity Data Centre, who sent our group out to look for objects washed up on the sand. They came back with red seaweeds, bladderwrack, welks and topshells, sea urchins and various other bits and pieces. Dave explained the significance of some of the findings and how they can translate to an understanding of what is going on beneath the surface of the sea.

The Explore Your Shore program allows people all around our coasts to identify and gather data that is used in scientific research. For example, discoveries of lions mane jellyfish are giving an insight to how climate change is affecting the distribution of creatures in the oceans. There is a lack of information available on the seas and this is what makes citizen science so important. 

In the afternoon, participants were introduced to the online portal for Explore Your Shore, where sightings of creatures can be officially recorded, anything from anemones to basking sharks. There are over 18,000 records of almost 700 species which are publicly available and used in scientific research. This means that individuals and communities have access to the same records that are made available to scientists, and can use that information to build up an understanding of what is going on in their localities.

If you would like to find out more, have a look at the Explore Your Shore website, consider taking their free online course, get together with some friends and start surveying. And if you do, make sure you tell us about it!

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