Capturing our Coast

We recently visited East Haven award beach to see what they were doing around citizen science and biodiversity alongside their other work and to find out more about the Capturing our Coast programme.

East Haven Together have participated in several of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s programmes and are winners of Beautiful Scotland Awards and the only community managed beach in our Beach Award programme.

So a visit to see what they were doing around citizen science and biodiversity alongside their other work was welcomed.

Dr Hannah Grist from the Scottish Association for Marine Science was our enthusiastic guide and instructor for the day outlining what was involved in the Capturing our Coast programme and how we could all be scientists for the day. So contributing to the picture we have of our marine environment.

Citizen Science allows everyone to take part and creates a large pool of volunteers, all helping with the process of recording and data-capture of a range of indicator species. Today we would be focusing on the marine environment and the inter tidal zone. East Haven have also done bio blitzes and assessments of their land based species, to give a fuller picture of all of their coastal environment.

First up was some training to get used to using our 100 square quadrats, this was done away from the coast and involved counting chocolate periwinkles, rag cloth seaweed and rice barnacles to get us used to estimating cover and counting individuals before moving done to the shore.

We were then given our recording sheets and identification guides for our target species, we each had 8 different species to focus in on and a different part of the inter tidal zone to work on. Our task was to place our quadrat, record the number and cover of our target species, before moving our quadrat, randomly, with numbers we had previously generated, along a transect parallel to the shore. We were looking out for a variety of snails, but saw many other interesting species along the way and after a few goes we really tuned in to what was present in the space covered by our quadrat.

It was a great day and provided some valuable east coast data to feed in to the overall picture of our marine environment. This will provide valuable data to monitor the status of our marine environment and how it is being affected by climate change, pollution and other factors.

Capturing our Coast is a great programme and the training day was both fun and informative, so if you fancy being a citizen scientist this programme is highly recommended.

There are other citizen science and wildlife sighting programmes you can participate in when visiting and award beach, such as the MCS jellyfish survey, or the Seawatch project to survey whales and dolphins.

31 July 2017

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