Dorset’s volunteer divers are revealing the secrets of our seas with astonishing new images of marine wildlife. Dorset Wildlife Trust has announced the winners of the Dorset Seasearch Underwater Photography Competition, which was launched to find the photos that tell us the most about little-known species or habitats. Seasearch is part of a national programme to record the wildlife hidden beneath the water, using a combination of written notes and photographs from volunteer sports divers, and is co-ordinated locally by Dorset Wildlife Trust.
Why are the photos important for Dorset Wildlife Trust?
Kathryn Dawson, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Marine Survey & Data Officer, said: “These pictures are not just amazing to look at but give us important information about species and habitats that very few people ever see. This is a very exciting time as we push back frontiers of knowledge with our Seasearch dive programme to find out what is living in our seas and where the top spots are for wildlife. Data from our volunteer divers was instrumental in the selection of part of Dorset’s seabed for European protection and is being used now to help the selection of the new UK marine reserves, but we still have so much more to discover.”
Who won the competition?
The winner was Richard Yorke, whose striking image of ‘south-claw’ hermit crabs in formation at Worbarrow Bay won him a free weekend’s diving. Richard’s photo was chosen from the hundreds of images taken during 2010 as part of the research and survey work of the Seasearch programme. The competition was judged by renowned marine biologist, diver and photographer, Paul Naylor, who said: “The competition entries were excellent and showed a wonderful variety of marine life that emphasised the richness of our seas. The winning photo made me gasp in amazement when I saw it, so many of the crabs, all showing their large left claws, a wonderful pattern of them among the eel-grass”.
1st runner up was Richard Yorke again with his photo of a little cuttle, 2nd runner-up was Gordon Bird’s unusual image of a pair of necklace shells and 3rd runner-up was Peter Szekely, with his stunning picture of the nudibranch or seaslug, Polycera. Cara Gammage, Matt Doggett, Fiona Ravenscroft and Mike Markey were also highly commended.
Divers who are interested in helping to record Dorset’s underwater wildlife can contact Kathryn Dawson on 01305 264620.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Nicky Hoar at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.
For more information please contact Kathryn Dawson at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Seasearch is a project 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 around the coasts of Britain and Ireland. Seasearch is co-ordinated by the Marine Conservation Society on behalf of the Seasearch Steering Group which comprises the Marine Conservation Society, Wildlife Trusts, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Environment and Heritage Service Northern Ireland, Environment Agency, Marine Biological Association, Nautical Archaeological Society, British Sub Aqua Club, Sub Aqua Association, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Scottish Sub Aqua Club, Irish Underwater Council and independent marine life experts
Marine Conservation Society
Is the UK charity dedicated to the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife. MCS campaigns for clean seas and beaches, sustainable fisheries, protection of marine life and their habitats, and the sensitive use of our marine resources for future generations. MCS provides information and guidance on many aspects of marine conservation and produces the annual Good Beach Guide (www.goodbeachguide.co.uk), the Good Fish Guide and www.fishonline.org on sustainable seafood, as well as promoting public participation in volunteer projects and surveys such as Beachwatch, Adopt-a-Beach and Basking Shark Watch.www.mcsuk.org
Winner: South-claw hermit crabs Diogenes pugilator among eel-grass in Worbarrow Bay by Richard Yorke.
1st Runner-up: Little cuttle swimming in Worbarrow Bay by Richard Yorke.
2nd Runner-up: Pair of necklace shells in Worbarrow Bay by Gordon Bird.
3rd Runner-up: Nudibranch or seaslug Polycera near the wreck of the British Inventor off the Purbecks in Poole Bay by Peter Szekely.