On-line connection to the British Marine Life Study Society web pages
Index for the Torpedo News Bulletins
Link to the forum for marine wildlife of the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas
Click here for the latest marine life news from around the British Isles

GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to an on-line page for younger students of the seashore. Spider Crab and youngsters at Adur World Oceans Day 2002 (Photograph by Duncan Morrison)
7-14 years



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600.
Subscribe and unsubscribe options are at the foot of this page.
If you receive this bulletin as an EMail subscriber, you may find the best way to view the file is on your hard disc in your directory of Incoming EMails.


Reports of marine wildlife from all around the British Isles, with pollution incidents and conservation initiatives as they affect the flora and fauna of the NE Atlantic Ocean.

Pelagia noctiluca, Connemara, W. Ireland. Sept 1999 Jim Greenfield23 June 2003
There was a mass stranding of 500+  Mauve Stingers (small jellyfish), Pelagia noctiluca, at Porthcothan, Cornwall. This is the most unusual of the British species of pelagic jellyfish to wash up, but large swarms occur in years of abundance. 
Despite being a small jellyfish, it has a reputation as a stinger, in the Mediterranean.
Amongst the Sea Rocket, Orache etc, on the strandline, a Peanut Plant has taken root.
Pelagia Stings
Sea Beans page
BMLSS Jellyfish

22 June 2003
Photograph by Paul Harrington

We captured a large Lobster, Homarus gammarus, off a Portland (Dorset) wreck which weighed about 5 kg, but it only had one claw. The human foot in the picture is size eleven. Specimens over 5 kg are only occasionally caught incidentally in other fisheries as large lobsters cannot get into the pots. They are often covered in keelworms.

Report by Paul Harrington
BMLSS Lobster Page
BMLSS Crustacea

20 June 2003
David Blackford reports an Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola, in St Ives Bay, Cornwall.  It was about a metre long, and think it is the first for the year. 

BMLSS Sunfish page

19 June 2003

15 June 2003
Whilst netting the River Hayle, Cornwall, at low water for sandeel bait, the first sweep brought a mixed bag of Greater Sandeels, Hyperoplus lanceolatus, and Lesser Sandeels, Ammodytes tobianus, plus quite a few Lesser Weevers, Echiichthys vipera. The unusual aspect was the large number of lice on the sandeel and free swimming in the bunt. Whilst ejecting the Weevers we noticed one fish had two lice stuck inside its mouth. My mate caught a louse and promptly let it go as it bit him. They were about 8 mm long.

Parasitic isopods (Image by Treve Opie)

These are isopods (wood-lice) and expert Tammy Horton has confirmed that they are the parasitic species Ceratothoa steindachneri. Sand-eel netters have reported these isopods before. 

Report by Treve Opie originally on the Cornish Mailing List
Link to Thumbnails
(Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Group)

14 June 2003
A jellyfish with a bell diameter of 45 cm and one metre long was spotted off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, at 7:00 pm. It was creamy white with a pink-blue rim so it was almost certainly the Barrel Jellyfish, Rhizostoma octopus. These large jellyfish are only occasionally encountered off the Sussex coast. 

13 June 2003
We have had four separate incidents of Sandeel (family: Ammodytidae) mass mortality in Ramsey Bay, Isle of Man (a lump of rock in the middle of the Irish Sea) over the last two or three weeks. Two events co-incided with rising new moon springs and the most recent with rising full moon springs. There were no obvious causes and as with the events in other areas we can only speculate on the cause. The main question is why only these small fish? The mortalities were, not surprisingly, accompanied by frenzied gull activity.

A massive bloom of plankton has turned the seas around the Shetland Isles a turquoise colour, stretching at least 60 miles, almost the whole length of the islands, from Yell the second most northern island to Sumburgh Head the southernmost tip. The organism was the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi which is responsible for vast blooms covering up to 40 thousand square miles of the oceans and can be seen from a space shuttle. Blooms this large can change the climate. This plankton bloom is non-toxic not thought to pose a threat to the salmon farms on the Shetlands.
News Report
Reference Book (see Chapter 6)
1999 Report of a bloom off Cornwall
c. 11 June 2003
On the beach from Sutton-on-Sea up to Mablethorpe, East Lindsey (Easy Yorkshire), we noticed thousands of dead starfish ranging from 3-10 cm in size, along with large numbers of dead crabs and some small shellfish. The starfish were almost certainly the Common Starfish, Asterias rubens. This stretch of coast seems to be particularly prone to  large and massive strandings of starfish and other marine life. 
Previous Report of a Massive Wreck
Strandline and Beachcombing Page

10-12 June 2003
Large numbers of pelagic scyphozoan Pelagia noctiluca, the Mauve Stinger (small jellyfish), were spotted all along the east coast of Lundy, Bristol Channel. I was participating in an English Nature drop-down video survey and I found dense shoals of this beautiful pelagic jellyfish. The density was probably in the region of 15 to 20 individuals per square metre at the surface.
NB: Swarms of this jellyfish are unusual in British seas. 

Pelagia Stings
BMLSS Jellyfish page 2

7 June 2003
Hundreds of the Blue Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii, were seen whilst diving around the Lizard up to the Helford river in Cornwall. Also seen in the Helford river was a Lion's Mane Jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, and a Compass Jellyfish, Chrysaora hysoscella.
The staff at Porthkerris divers have recently seen vast numbers of By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, which turned the beach blue!

BMLSS Jellyfish page 1

Velella (Photograph by Steve Trewhella)6 June 2003
Millions (literally) of By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella, (a jellyfish-like animal) are being washed up alive to perish on the shores of Cornwall, now reaching up the English Channel as far east as Polperro and Looe.  All are very small, around 15 mm in length, and still have fleshy body parts attached.

More Cornish Reports

4 June 2003
I was on Charmouth beach in Dorset doing a little fossil hunting and suddenly found myself lying (best way to find tiny crinoids etc) in a wreck of tiny jellyfish. They had a bizarre transparent float and were a vivid blue being only around 25 to 30 mm long. These are By-the-Wind Sailors, Velella velella.

Velella page
Velella Notes
MARLin Velella Web Page



Each month, at least one special marine image will be published from images sent to the BMLSS. This can be of the seashore, undersea world or any aspect of the marine natural world, especially the underwater life, but not restricted to life beneath the waves. Topical inclusions may be included instead of the most meritorious, and images will be limited to the NE Atlantic Ocean and adjoining seas, marine and seashore species and land and seascapes.

A very red Butterfish, Pholis gunnellus, (photograph and discussion)
Photograph by Mike Noren

Question:  is this colour unusual for a breeding Butterfish? 

More photographs of Butterfish

Shore Topography Series

The name of the particular coast should be included and the grid reference, if known. Print photographs can be included in Exhibitions and on the BMLSS Web Sites and electronic publications. Electronic images in *.JPG format can also be considered for the web site. They should not exceed 150K in size.

Shore Topography Portfolio


Osmington Mills (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The rocky shore at Osmington Mills, Dorset, with Portland Island in the distance
Photograph by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)
Click on the image for some more on-line photographs

Dorset coast near Osmington Mills (Photograph by Ray Hamblett)

The spherical masses of sandstone are called "doggers"
Photograph by Ray Hamblett (Lancing Nature)

Osmington Mills - Introduction: Geology of the Dorset Coast (part of the Jurassic Coast 

Overview of the Jurassic Cliffs of Dorset


Link to more marine life photographsClick on the album for more links (On-line link)



In June 1992,  over 150  Heads of States signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at Rio de Janeiro. They did so to express a shared belief that action must be taken to halt the worldwide loss of animal and plant species and genetic resources.

World Oceans Day was first declared as 8th June at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Events will occur all around the world on and around this day.


In chronological order, the most recent events are at the top of the page. Events open to the public, free or for a nominal charge only are included. Most Seminars need to be booked in advance.


A field meeting is planned for 28 August - 1 September 2003. A number of shores have recently been investigated and the following have been chosen (we will do one shore per day):- 

Boulmer  [55o 25.0'N 01o 34.4'W; NGR 46/2614]

This is a huge shore with extensive rock platforms and a sandy/muddy bay. There is a wide variety of life. 

Newton-by-the-Sea [55o 31.0'N 01o 37.0'W; NGR 46/2425]

or Beadnell [55o 37.4'N 01o;33.2'W; NGR 46/2330]

Newton has rock platforms and a sandy bay while Beadnell is rocky with gullies and rock pools, with a sandy bay to the south. Newton also has the best pub for lunch! 

Lindisfarne [55o 40.5'N 01o;48.0'W; NGr 46/1342]

Cross the tidal causeway (by car) and there is a variety of shores including limestone rocks and a muddy/sandy bay. More walking required than for the others so we'll hope for a particularly good day. 

No parking problems but loos not very evident. 

Further south near Cresswell there are interesting brackish lagoons. 

We can also have a day on Dove Marine Laboratory's boat "Bernicia" for which Porcupine will underwrite some or all of the cost. However people going on this trip may be expected to pay a small charge (no more than £15). 

The tides are such that it would be most convenient to go on "Bernicia" on Thursday 28 August, although Monday 1 September is a possibility. 

It would be helpful if you could decide quickly whether you are coming on this excursion, because accommodation will have to be booked soon, as it is still the holiday period. Alnwick is a suitable base area. Details of accommodation can be provided from the Tourist Guide. 

For further information: 

Please contact the organiser: Shelagh Smith, Woodleigh, Townhead, Hayton, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 9JH: 

Tel: 01228 670676   email: shelagh@smithurd.demon.co.uk


BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology 
(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)


Spring Talks Series 2003

No talks are listed.  Facilities are available for schools, linked to the national curriculum. 

All talks are on Tuesdays and start at 7:00 p.m.
at the National Marine Aquarium, Coxside, Plymouth Devon.
Admission – Adults £2.50; Children and NMA members £1.50, inclusive of refreshments will be available.

Please reserve your place by calling the Aquarium on 01752 275204


SAMS Seminar Series
The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)
Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Dunbeg, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA
Tel: 01631 559000 Fax: 01631 559300 Email: mail@dml.ac.uk
For more details/how to find SAMS see our website: http://www.sams.ac.uk

Unless otherwise stated, seminars are held on Fridays at 4:15 pm
in the SAMS Conference Room ** Followed by the Friday R&R **

28 August 2003
SAMS exhibition in the Heritage Centre at The Argyllshire Gathering in Oban. 

9 - 12 September 2003
Second International Symposium on Deep Sea Corals, 9 - 12 September, 2003, Erlangen, Germany. For further details: www.cool-corals.de 
Registration: cool-corals@pal.uni-erlangen.de

For more details on the forthcoming talks, please contact Murray Roberts (mailto:mr-t@dml.ac.uk) or tel: 01631 559 000

back to Southampton Oceanography Centre Homepage

A series of monthly talks on marine conservation topics
These talks are open to the public, admission is free.

3 July 2003 
Marine Life Talk at Southampton Oceanography Centre –
The Shingle Currency – gravel, dredging and marine life off south east England 

Sand and gravel, in various combinations, cover most of the sea bed area of South East England, forming an intricate mosaic of habitats. These habitats are home to a diverse assemblage of animals, including rarities such as the ross worm and commercially important species such as scallop and herring. 

Sand and gravel are also a vital resource for the construction industry and are increasingly used in coast protection schemes. In the UK, over 4 tonnes of sand and gravel are consumed per person per year. In London and the South East, around a third of the sand and gravel demand is met from marine sources. The industry is regulated by the Government and there are systems in place to ensure that impacts on the environment are minimised.

But is it really as simple as that? How important is the wildlife of sand and gravel habitats? What effects does marine aggregate extraction have on these habitats and species? Is the damage from dredging temporary or permanent? And what are the Government, the aggregates industry and conservationists doing to get a better understanding of the situation?

For further information about The Wildlife Trusts’ marine work in South England, including the events programme for South East Marine Week 2003, please see www.southeastmarine.org.uk or call Hampshire Wildlife Trust on 02380 688936. 

To find out more about the marine aggregate industry see www.bmapa.org or contact the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association on 0207 730 8194.

Lisa Browning is Marine Conservation Officer for The Wildlife Trusts in the South East. She is currently co-ordinating a major project entitled ‘Marine biodiversity and aggregates in South East England’. The project is supported by English Nature, though Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

Lisa Browning has worked in marine conservation and environmental education for the last nine years, including three years as Marine Ranger at Durlston Country Park in Dorset, and a year freelancing as a marine education consultant in Honduras and the UK. 

Mark Russell is Development Manager for the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association, and has worked in the marine aggregate industry since 1995.

With a background in marine geography and marine resource management, Mark’s responsibilities during this time have encompassed the full range of production and resource management issues associated with the industry, including the development of new licences.

7 August 2003
Odessa and the Black Sea – Ken Collins

4 September 2003

2 October 2003
ROV deep sea fish watchingIan Hudson

The Marine Life Talks are held on the first Thursday of the month at 7.30 pm, please arrive at 7.15 pm to be met in Reception. Southampton Oceanography Centre is reached via Dock Gate 4 (between Town Quay and Ocean Village). 




Local shrimper Peter Talbot-Elsden, from Southwick (Sussex), has produced a small booklet called “Shrimping for Food and Fun” about catching the brown shrimp around the coasts of Britain. The shrimps are caught in nets and the book features the various methods, firstly the push-netting seen over the sand in shallow water in spring off the Sussex coast. The famous Morecambe Bay shrimps were originally captured by cart shanker shrimping with a horse and cart in deeper water off the Lancashire coast, later replaced by a tractor. At Formby, they experimented with amphibious vehicles after World War II. Nowadays, most commercial shrimping on the east coast around King’s Lynn trawls from small boats using a net off the stern. Shrimps are often cooked on board.

The 28 page book contains 40 photographs of shrimping through the ages. It is available through Bookworms of Shoreham and other booksellers and museums at £3.50. 
The booklet is also available through the British Marine Life Study Society, but at £4 including postage and packing. 

Peter Talbot-Elsden manned the shrimp display at Adur World Oceans Day.

(European centre for information on marine science and technology)



Assessing the sensitivity of seabed biotopes to human activities and natural events

MARLIN  (Marine Life Information Network)

MarLIN News
Issue 6 Spring 2003


Sealife Surveys: Identification Guide for Selected Underwater Species

MarLIN has published this new waterproof guide which is designed to support recording projects. The 45 species in the guide have been selected for their ease of recognition and their importance as species which play a key role in maintaining particular communities, are likely to be affected by global warming, or are non-native. The guide is produced in collaboration with the Seasearch programme, which is a nationwide diving survey of underwater habitats and species. Volunteers are taught about marine life, how to recognize what's important and how to make records under water.

You can obtain a copy of the guide for £3 including post and packing by sending a cheque to MarLIN, Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB. Cheques are to be made payable to ‘Marine Biological Association’. Copies are free to participants in organized surveys.



The Marine Life and Environmental Sciences Resource Centre
The Marine Life and Environmental Sciences Resource Centre

The Marine Life and Environmental Sciences Resource Centre is based at the historic Citadel Hill Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association on Plymouth Hoe. The Association was founded to investigate life in the sea and disseminate the knowledge gained for the public good.

The Centre is designed for a variety of educational and training purposes in support of the local, national and international community, including charities, small and medium-sized businesses, schools and colleges, universities and learned societies.

The Centre provides a spacious and flexible venue combining facilities for workshops, conferences and lectures with laboratory benching and equipment for practical work and field courses. The Centre can be partitioned into connecting meeting and laboratory areas or remain as one large space. The following resources are available:

Seminar, workshop and lecture facilities for up to 80 people 
Fully equipped laboratory holding up to 40 participants (inventory available on request) 
Seminar area convertible into laboratory space giving one large lab. capable of holding up to 80 students 
Digital, slide and overhead projectors 
Networked computing facilities 
Display and poster boards 
Access to the National Marine Biological Library 
Seawater systems 
Boats and sampling equipment 
Easy access to a wide range of marine habitats including estuaries, rocky and sandy shores and open water 
Close proximity to local diving services 
Catering facilities for tea and coffee, buffets, formal lunches and dinners 
Disabled access and toilet facilities 

Marine Biological Association of the U.K. 

published by
Sound Diving Publications
ISBN  0 9522831 4 X
Available from


Published by the Conchological Society

The British Marine Life Study Society are responsible for producing the journal GLAUCUS, which is the first publication exploring the marine life of the seas surrounding the British Isles available to the general public. 

Change of EMail Address

New EMail addressPlease note that the EMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society has now changed

from bmlss@compuserve.com  to  Glaucus@hotmail.com

Messages to the first address will not receive any guarantee of a reply and from year 2003, the old EMail address is expected to fall into disuse. 


Membership 2003

Current members will have their subscriptions waived for year 2003. An explanation was sent before Christmas. This is because of he computer breakdown and the failure of the full complement of paper publications. 

How to Join

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Printing the two column version of Torpedo (from issue 28)

These pages are not designed for the default settings on the Page Set-ups of your browser. I recommend viewing in Microscope Internet Explorer 6 and altering the right and left hand columns in the Page Set-up menu to 9 mm (from 19 mm).
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Torpedo  compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Nicolas Jouault , Ray Hamblett and other contributors

    30 June 2003

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.6 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aper