Above: Welly Zone survey © Sarah Hodgson. Below: PANACHE rock pool ramble and seashore survey © Dorset Wildlife Trust
Thanks to all the wonderful Welly Zone volunteers who took part in our events this year and, in doing so, contributed to the PANACHE project.
During the 2 years of the PANACHE project we have engaged with over 1,500 people at events such as the Kimmeridge Bioblitz, Studland’s Wild About Seahorses event and the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, as well as our regular rockpool rambles.
Over 80 people are signed up as Welly Zone volunteers, many of whom have attended training sessions to learn about seaweed identification, non-native and climate change indicator species, and seashore animals. Seashore surveys have been completed at Christchurch, Hengistbury Head, Poole Harbour, Swanage, Kimmeridge, Osmington Mills, Portland Bill, The Fleet, Eype and Lyme Regis.
This Welly Zone e-newsletter was set up as part of the PANACHE project and is sent to around 1,500 people six times a year. Four new species have been added to our Wildlife on Your Seashore guide for Welly Zone volunteers to record during their seashore surveys. In addition, two online identification guides have been created, for algae and sponges/bryozoans, and should be available for volunteers to use in 2015 as part of a new online recording system.
What wildlife have we discovered in our marine protected areas?
The endangered common eel has been found at two sites along the Dorset coast and new records for the small cushion star, a climate-change indicator, have been made demonstrating its spread eastwards. Records of stalked jellyfish have added to evidence in support of protecting intertidal marine-life in Kimmeridge Bay for the first time under an existing Site of Special Scientific Interest. Furthermore, collection of ray egg-cases at Studland Bay have contributed to evidence in support of designating it as a Marine Conservation Zone. In general, we have learned more about what lives where along Dorset’s coastline and have highlighted some hotspots to monitor in more detail.