Introduction kindly produced by Dave Wall
Citizen Science Officer
National Biodiversity Data Centre
Explore Your Shore!
Ireland has over 3,000 km of coastline and in excess of 1,000 coastal marine species, and yet the conservation status of many of these species is unknown. For years, we have largely ignored our intertidal habitats, despite our shorelines being some of the richest habitats we have in terms of biodiversity. In 2018, less than 4% of the 100,000 records submitted to the National Biodiversity Data Centre were of coastal marine species. Explore Your Shore! is looking to change this and we are working hard to engage the public in Marine Biodiversity Citizen Science recording and to promote new and existing Irish Marine Biodiversity Citizen Science initiatives.
Recording our marine biodiversity is just as vital as recording terrestrial plants and animals. Our coastal species are indicators of the health of our seas and unfortunately, due to the lack of baseline data, we struggle to realise the extent of biodiversity loss in our marine ecosystems due to human actions. Explore Your Shore! has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote Marine Biodiversity Citizen Science recording in Ireland, to gather a new baseline for Ireland’s intertidal species and to assess our coastal species as indicators of Climate Change and Water Quality.
By taking part in our Rocky Shore Safari (or indeed any of the surveys run by Explore Your Shore! or our partner organisations) you can help contribute to our understanding of our coastal species and habitats, help monitor the impacts of Climate Change and Water Quality on our marine life, and empower the public, through Citizen Science, to contribute to Irish and EU monitoring of the health of our ocean. So why not join our growing movement of Irish Marine Citizen Scientists by discovering what you can do to help Explore Your Shore! today? Visit www.exploreyourshore.ie for more information or visit us on Facebook @ExploreYourShore.
Citizen Science while on the shore
After the last few blog posts, we though it was time to share something really important for science. As you are on the way into the rockpool it’s important to record what you see.
There are a number of #CitizenScience activities that you can join in and help researchers along the way, here is our favourite one!
EGG CASE HUNTS BY THE SHORE
During the seasons many rays and sharks will swim into the Bay to lay eggs. They find a suitable area and will anchor the egg cases until they hatch.
Once the juvenile ray or skate has hatched the tide, currents will 'pick' up the empty eggcase and it will end up on a local shore.
Once empty, the eggcases (or mermaid’s purses) often wash up on the beach. One of the best places to find them is among the strandline, where the seaweed washes up. The eggcases of different species vary. So, by looking at the size, shape and features, we can tell which species laid it.
Purse Search Ireland is an exciting fisheries conservation project that involves public participation, so that means you can take part! The project is basically a massive nationwide search for mermaids’ purses, the egg cases of sharks, skates, and rays. We’re hunting for these egg cases because they can provide valuable information on the location of nursery areas for Ireland’s egg laying sharks, skates and rays.
Information on nursery areas is crucial for effective conservation management and protection of vulnerable species. It’s also important for the sustainable development of our fisheries.
Learn more about Marine Dimensions
Mermaids Purses - Infovideo
Check out our Gallery of egg cases!
EXPLORE YOUR SHORE
The Aquarium will organise a number of these workshops during the summer time, so check out our social media and website for new information.
Once you have completed your egg hunt and are hungry for more Citizen Science, have a look at these opportunities...they get a little more advanced but there are lots of simple ones to complete too.
They include many, many citizen science opportunities, like:
Join us for the next blog as we look a little deeper into the species and stories of life in the rockpools.
Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest native species Aquarium are delighted to present these stories of the shore. Call into the Aquarium to learn more.
Our goal is to share the diversity of stories that reflect the beauty of the sea, we are doing this by sharing images, stories, art, reviews & interpretation of the beautiful blue ocean we are only discovering.
This blog is to record the adventures , ocean literacy, discoveries , and showcase the hidden beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way.