Marine Life News Bulletin

March 2008

ISSN 1464-8156

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
Link to Marine Life News 2008
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 Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2007
Link to Sealord Photography
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

Norwegian Marine***

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Silver Dolphin Centre, Helston, Cornwall

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages

Marine Life Society
South Australia ***

De Strandwerkgemeenschap

Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning



Monthly electronic news bulletin for the marine life of the NE Atlantic Oceans including the seas and seashore around the British Isles.
The bulletin is designed for Microsoft Explorer 4 and above using medium fonts at a resolution of 800 x 600 and can be viewed satisfactorily at a resolution of 1024 x 768.
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.

26 March 2008
After a recent bout of northerlies in North Wales I took the dog for a walk down on Red Wharf Bay on Anglesey and found all sorts of things washed up. Much of the material was deposited across the entire intertidal to the east of the bay, but more concentrated on the strandline towards the west. 
Brittlestars (various species) were particularly abundant on the upper shore, with patches a couple of inches (or more) thick. Common Starfish, Asterias rubens,  were also very abundant, as a rough guess at 5-10 per square metre. Species such as the Sand Starfish Astropecten irregularis, Heart Urchin Echinocardium cordatum, Dead Men's Fingers Alcyonium digitatum, Masked Crabs, Corystes spp., and various sipunculids (Peanut Worms) were also washed up in considerable numbers, as were various shark and ray eggcases. Of the more unusual species, I found three Angular Crabs, Goneplax rhomboides, a small Conger Eel (approx. 50 cm long) and a dead Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax

 BMLSS Mermaid's Purses

23 March 2008
Brittlestar (Photograph by Rupert Smith) Mixed Asterias and Sunstars (Photograph by Rupert Smith)

Over Easter, after some heavy storms with snow blowing in off the North Sea, I discovered hundreds of thousands of Razorfish, Ensis sp. (a bivalve mollusc), hundreds of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, lots of Sunstars, Crossaster papposus, and Brittlestars washed up on the sands of Holkham Beach.

Report & Photographs by Rupert Smith
BMLSS Echinoderms

18 March 2008
Plans to proceed with enabling powers in the Marine Bill to introduce a Sea Angling Licence have been scrapped for 2008.

16 March 2008
Photograph by Liz Morris Photograph by Liz Morris

Hundreds of the sea cucumber Thyone fusus, many exuding their guts and gonads as a response to the stress, were discovered washed dead on up on the shore Newborough in North Wales (only a few nautical miles from Dinas Dinlle). 

Report and Photographs by Liz Morris (Marine Ecological Solutions Ltd

BMLSS Echinoderms
BMLSS Beachcombing

12 March 2008
After the stormy weather, a dead Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was discovered by Roger Adams walking on Wanson Beach, near Widemouth Bay, north Cornwall.

BMLSS Turtles
This Cotton-Spinner, a sea cucumber properly called Holothuria forskali, was washed up dead on White Strand beach, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry.
I'd seen live ones in lobster pots but this was the first 'stranded' one I've seen.
Report by Rosemary Hill

This large eggcase was discovered on my local beach (Waterville, Co. Kerry, Ireland).. The size can be discerned from the tennis ball. It is large enough to be the eggcase of the endangered Skate, Dipturus (=Raja) batis

A Sea Heart, Entada gigas, was found on Lohar beach. 

Report by Rosemary Hill
BMLSS Mermaid's Purses
BMLSS Sea Beans

4 - 5 March 2008
Hundreds of thousands of Common Starfish, Asterias rubens, were washed on the shore of east Kent.
Picture Link

Thousands of Common Starfish were washed up on the coast of Kent between Pegwell Bay and Sandwich. 

3 March 2008
hexapus, or six-legged version of the Lesser or Curled Octopus, Eledone cirrhosa, was captured in a lobster pot off the coast of north Wales and put on show at the Anglesey Sea Zoo. It was only then it was discovered to have only six legs instead of the normal eight, and this may have a result of a birth defect rather than an accident. It was been claimed as a world's first as nobody seems to discovered one before. Its fame meant it was transferred to the Blackpool Sea Life Centre to attract a bigger audience. 

BMLSS Octopuses
BMLSS Public Aquaria List (British Isles)


Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Mailing Groups

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean 
Yahoo Group
New Group:

With the closure of Smart Groups at the end of November 2006 most of the 7500+ messages have been filed at:

Marine Wildlife of the North-east Atlantic Ocean Jiglu

Images can be uploaded to flickr.

Wet Thumb (Marine Aquariology) Forum Link


All reports by Andy Horton unless the credits are given 
to other observers or reporters.

Cornish Marine Wildlife (Ray Dennis Records) 2005


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.

5 February 2008

Two Portuguese Man-o'-War, Physalia physalis, were both discovered on the beach (Lohar, Waterville, Co. Kerry Ireland) but one was down at the low tide and the other was much higher up. They were both about 10 cm long. The other one was deflated.

Report by Rosemary Hill

BMLSS Jellyfish & Colonial Hydroids



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 250K in size.

Foam whipped up by the huge swell in Portcoon Cave 
Great Sea Caverns of Antrim, Northern Ireland

The Antrim Coast is perhaps the most photographed section of coastline in Ireland. But hidden in this rugged landscape are some dark and forgotten sea caverns that are rarely visited. 
Interestingly, a search of the old writings, etchings and photographs from the turn of the century yields some fantastic material relating to these old and unchanging places. The adventurous Victorians loved to row into these caverns to take picnics, to paint and to snap photographs. 

Many of the old photographs and etchings can still be found today in antique and curiosity shops. Seeing this old material has inspired me to revisit these long forgotten chambers of the Antrim Coast and to create a new photographic record of these secret places. 
Click on the photograph above to visit the web pages.

Commentary by Andy McInroy

Photograph © Brian Mallon. Reproduced with permission

flickrBritish Coastal Topography

First enquiry by EMail to

New EMail address


Photographers submitting pictures should indicate if they wish them to be considered for inclusion as confirming permission takes work and time and can delay publication of the news bulletins. 

Link to more marine life photographs

Click on the album for more links (On-line link)




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.

Link to the Porcupine Society web pages28-30 March 2008
The Porcupine Marine Natural History Society will be holding its annual meeting at Menai Bridge, Bangor, north Wales this year. There will be two days of talks (Friday and Saturday) followed by a field trip on the Sunday. The theme of hotspots is to enlighten the delegates to those locations or habitats that, through their natural (or otherwise) diversity of life, inspire biologists to investigate them.

Full Details
Booking Form

14 June 2008

Venue: Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea
Admission: FREE
Adur will be one of the UK leaders in presenting an environmental exhibition of World Oceans Day on Coronation Green, Shoreham-by-Sea, as part of the Adur Festival

11-15 November 2008

World Conference on Marine Biodiversity 
Valencia, Spain

The exploration of marine biodiversity: scientific and technological challenges
To review the current understanding of marine biodiversity, its role in marine ecosystem functioning and its socio-economic context
To assess current and future threats and potential mitigation strategies for conservation and regulation of marine resources
To identify future research priorities

First Announcement (Link)
Full Details (Link)


BIOSIS  Conference Calendar for Zoology

(Major Link of all biological conferences around the world)

 Public Aquaria List
?  What to do if you find a stranded whale or dolphin  ?

If you find a LIVE stranded or injured whale or dolphin on the beach you must send for help QUICKLY. A whale or dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not an animal can be returned to the sea alive.

0300 1234 999
0300 1234 999
0131 339 0111
0845 201 2626
01534 724331
00 44 1481 257261

British Divers Marine Life Rescue
01825  765546





by Lucy Beckett-Bowman

Consultant: Andy Horton
Usborne Publishing   £3.99

Usborne Beginners Series
Level One (very young children)

ISBN 978-0-7460-8864-7

BMLSS Notes for a Primary School Teacher

Whales & Dolphins 
of Great Britain
by Dylan Walker and Alex Wilson
CETACEA Publishing 2007
ISBN-10: 0-9556144-0-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-9556144-0-8

If you would like to see whales and dolphins in British waters, Whales and Dolphins of Great Britain is the book for you! A comprehensive and easy-to-use field guide to all of the regularly seen species, it also shows you how, where, and when to go and see these spectacular marine mammals, with 38 boat operators and 16 outstanding land-based viewpoints listed. The text is packed with information on how to book a trip; including the species that are likely to be seen, how to get there, and what photographic opportunities are available. If you love whales and dolphins and enjoy seeing the British countryside, this book is a must you never know when you might need it! 

Whales and Dolphins of Great Britain is the first in a series of regional whale and dolphin watching guides being published by Cetacea Publishing. 

CETACEA Publishing, Nook Farmhouse, Ashby Road, Shepshed, Loughborough, LE12 9BS. Telephone: 0845 388 3053. Fax: 0845 108 6386. 
E-Mail: Website designed by de Wilson-Wildman LLP 

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

Click on this image for a link for further details
The Gulf Stream
by Bruno Voituriez 
Publisher:  UNESCO 
ISBN:  92-3-103995-4 
222 pages, figures, glossary, bibliography

The Gulf Stream
Amid contemporary scenarios of potential climatic catastrophes and global warming that might be imagined to bring a new ice age, the powerful image of the Gulf Stream rising from the Florida Straits and flowing to the north Atlantic inevitably provokes questions about its ecological significance and whether it might ever stop.

Coastal Plankton
Photo Guide for European Seas

by Otto Larink & Wilfried Westheide
reviewed by Wim van Egmond
(Collins New Naturalist) (Paperback)
by Peter Hayward
Collins 2004

ISBN:  0-00-220031-7

Amazon Web Site

Paperback. Pp 288. Colour & b/w photographs, illustrations, charts, maps and bibliography. Fine copy. "New Naturalist" Seashore is a comprehensive, authoritative account of the natural history of the seashore.

BMLSS General Guides
BMLSS Advanced Guides


Decision-making in Marine Mammal 
Rescue and Rehabilitation

Eastern English Channel Habitat Atlas for Marine Resource Management
is available for download from

Encyclopaedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Marine Fauna of Norway

WET THUMB (Marine Aquariology)

BMLSS: Marine Life Articles in Publications (Link)

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. In future, I expect the publication to be in an electronic format. 
    We also publish the SHOREWATCH Newsletter and
    the TORPEDO Electronic News Bulletin.

    The Glaucus 2002 CD-ROM was sent out to Premier BMLSS members in January 2003.

EMail Address

New EMail addressEMail address for messages to the British Marine Life Study Society 


Membership 2008
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2008. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

How to Join

Bulletin Details

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Recipients can only unsubscribe if the Bulletin is received directly from the BMLSS.
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Viewing should be possible on Netscape and other browsers.

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).
The page set-up can also be amended in Netscape Composer and other web page editors, and this has the advantage of enabling the specified number of pages to be printed and the information about the file (name, path, date) to be deleted.

Some of the images may not display if you have changed your directory for downloaded files. The images may also not display properly if your settings on your EMail software do not allow you do this automatically. When received in Pegasus the format is changed slightly, but the bulletin is still readable 

Torpedo compiled by Andy Horton
Background design by Andy Horton and other contributors

     28 March 2008

Compiled on Netscape Composer 4.7 and other programs
Boar Fish, Capros aperLen NevellMarc AbrahamJohn KnightUrchin fossil (out of scale) dating the pebbles at 85 million years oldMermaid's PursesPeter Talbot-ElsdenCharlie DimmickAndy HortonSamanthaThe crab was called Rooney because of its missing leg. Nobody asked about the brain cells of a crab?