Marine Life News Bulletin

August 2009

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 the News web pages for 2009
GATEWAY:  Further European Links
New EMail address
Courses (Marine Life)
Discussion Groups
Marine Information Service
(Marine Life Information Network)
World Register of Marine Species
National Biodiversity Gateway
National Biodiversity Network
World Oceans Day
Link to Ray Dennis's Cornish Marine Life Reports for 2008
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

19 August 2009
Green seaweed has been clogging parts of the English coastline, and from the air above Langstone Harbour in Hampshire it resembles a massive algal green carpet. This amount of seaweed has a detrimental effect on the underlying fauna deoxygenating the mud and killing the worms and cockles etc.
BBC News Report

The continual problem also occurred off the shores of Brittany.
BBC News Report

12 - 14 August 2009
Thousands of fish have died of suffocation in the seas of St. Austell Bay in south Cornwall. 
"The more we looked, the more dead fish we found, mainly small ones, but eventually even about half a dozen Cuckoo Wrasse, Labrus bimaculatus, - a beautiful red and blue fish, and some others which someone identified as baby Dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula, all unmarked but dead in rock pools or on the shoreline. One chap even hauled out a large Conger Eel, Conger conger, from a pool, obviously dead."
The dead fish coincided with a large bloom of plankton that had been blown into the bay. The bloom had turned the water brown and left sludge deposit on the shore. The exact species has not yet been identified. 
Western Morning News Report
Wild About Britain Forum (Report)
BBC News Report (1)
BBC News Report (2)

"The Status of Rockpools at Spit Point, Par, Cornwall.
I had a very sad afternoon, although the afternoon began very promising despite what had been forecast on the news. On venturing onto the beach at Spit Point there were no obvious signs of washed up fish or anything and the first upper shore rockpools I checked were teaming with small fry and other life, however this didn't last long and it wasn't long before I started to find dead gobies.
On looking in upper-middleshore pools things got a lot worse and Green Sea-Urchins, Psammechinus miliaris, were laying on the bottom of pools somewhat lifeless (usually they are all under rocks), along with various species of marine worms. 

Par Spit Point: Polkerris and Gribbin Head Panorama (Photograph by Carol)

Dead Sandeels and Two-spotted Gobies were common place and I also came across a dead 3 lb Ballan Wrasse in the large upper shore pools. Towards Par Dock Breakwater the upper shore was stinking of hydrogen sulphide and especially where small mussel colonies ventured into some of the smaller pools. Here there was also a film and foam on the pools. On venturing back I took images of near lifeless Snakelocks Anemones, dead crabs and images of the colour of the water at low water mark, which was quite dark and murky.

The status of Par Beach, Cornwall.
I decided to visit Par Beach after Spit Point and to see what was happening there. The first thing I saw was thousands of Sea Potatoes washed together just below the high water mark. Dead Sea Potatoes were common place all down the beach. I then noticed that there was an increase in the amount of Common Cockles on the surface of the sand. Then came a real shock, thousands of half-dead and dead lugworm all across the beach, many had been speared by beaks of seabirds, thousands must have already been eaten.
A yellowish-brown scum could be found all over the beach in lines below the high tide mark down to low water."

Web Site Report by David Fenwick

10 August 2009
A 15 cm juvenile Loggerhead Turtle, Caretta caretta, was rescued after stranding on on Loe Bar, near Porthleven, in Cornwall. It was discovered by by Rose Ledbury from Warwick. The turtle was surrounded by a number of stranded Portuguese Man-o'War, Physalia physalis, one of the Loggerhead's staple foods. The turtle is recovering in a special quarantine unit at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay. 

BMLSS Turtles
BMLSS Portuguese Man-o'War

2 August 2009
A Bogue, Boops boops, was caught in a Red Mullet net in 10 metres of water about half a mile off the shore at Seaton, south east Cornwall, by Chris Dominic on the FV Emma May.

This fish was about 17 cm (6 - 7"), but they can grow to 38 cm (14").  They are a shoaling fish and are a commercial species in southern Europe. They are classified in the Sparidae Sea Bream family and I assume they are good eating.  They are rare in British waters and most have been caught in the Channel Islands, but they have also been found in Torbay and several other places. They are regularly caught in Red Mullet nets in Mount's Bay Cornwall in the autumn, but this is the first I had heard of from Whitsand Bay.

BMLSS Sea Breams


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) 2008


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.

Cuckoo Wrasse (male)
Labrus mixtus
Photograph and Comments by Joe Bater

These wrasse on a dive in Scapa Flow in the Orkney Isles, Scotland, were  friendly/curious/hungry. This is different from Ireland where they scoot away immediately. 

BMLSS Wrasses



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.

Photograph by David Fenwick

Charlestown, in picturesque St Austell Bay, was the scene of the mass kill of marine organisms because of a "red tide" of suffocating phytoplankton mentioned in the News Reports. 

Rockpooling around Plymouth by David Fenwick

British 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.


3 September 2009    8:15 pm
The Hunt for Moby Dick
The Hunt for Moby-Dick, a feature-length adventure documentary written and presented by Philip Hoare, confronts our fascination with one of the most mysterious creatures of the ocean, the whale. 
Location: Harbour Lights Cinema, Southampton, in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Full Details

15 October 2009

Earthwatch Lecture: Meeting Marine Needs

Thursday 15th October 2009, 7.00 pm – 8.30 pm at the Royal
Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

Speakers: Dennis Sammy, Nature Seekers, & Nienke van Geel, The Hebridean
Whale & Dolphin Trust. Chaired by Nigel Winser.

Human activities and climate change pose multiple threats to marine
species. Hear about Earthwatch's research in projects as wide
ranging as Trinidad's Leatherback sea turtles and Hebridean whales
and dolphins.

Full Information Web Page

Ticket only - free to students and current Earthwatch donors; otherwise
a donation will be requested on the door.

For tickets and/or more information contact our Events Department on
(01865) 318856;


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

01825  765546





Two new interesting publications were received this month:

by Peter Stiles
Publisher: Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon

Philip Henry Gosse was a popular naturalist who moved to Victorian Ilfracombe and wrote his natural science book ‘A Naturalist’s Rambles on the Devonshire Coast’. He later designed the first public aquarium, which opened in London. His activities also attracted other naturalists, including Charles Darwin and novelist George Eliot.

This book celebrates the link between Philip Henry Gosse and his rockpool adventures in Devon and contains lots of information about the life of this self-taught Victorian scientist and writer.

in conjunction with an Exhibition that finished on 25 April 2009.

Marine Fisheries Science Yearbook  2008/2009

Publisher:  defra

href="">To obtain a copy from the defra web site, click on this text

Sharks in British Seas

Richard Peirce
138 pages, colour illustrations, line drawings, colour & b/w photos.
Lots of newspaper reports.

Publisher:  Shark Cornwall
Softcover | 2008 | £9.99

ISBN: 978-0-955869402 

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 the European Atlantic
The Bay of Biscay, English Channel, Celtic Sea and coastal SW Ireland
by Dylan Walker and Graeme Cresswell
with the illustrations by Robert Still
WILDGuides  2008
£ 12.00 (includes standard UK P&P)
ISBN:  978-1-903657-31-7

This is the second fully revised and updated edition of this comprehensive guide to the identification of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) in the European Atlantic. Until very recently, most researchers and whale-watchers were unaware of the great variety of cetaceans that can be seen so close to the shores of western Europe. Indeed, it is only during the last decade, when detailed cetacean surveys have been carried out in earnest, that we have discovered how important this area is for cetacean biodiversity.

This field guide describes all of the 31 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise that have occurred in the European Atlantic. 

BMLSS Cetacean Book Reviews

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


Working to reduce Marine Pollution and to help the birds caught in it
Quarterly Newsletter
Registered Charity  803473


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 2009
Plans have not yet been finalised for the publications and subscriptions for year 2009. Back copies of previous issues are still available. 

Bulletin Details

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

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

    27 August 2009

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?